Full Spectrum Preparedness and the 5 C’s of Survival

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

In the quest for preparedness, we constantly face the challenge that Albert Einstein discusses above. How do we approach the exceedingly complex topic of preparedness and survival in the way that makes it as simple as possible. We’re not geniuses here at Prepography by any stretch of the imagination but we do think that we have done a pretty good job creating and expanding the concept of Full Spectrum Preparedness (FSP). We’ve tried to develop a comprehensive approach to preparedness in as small a form as possible. Additionally, FSP is a scalable approach that can be used equally well whether you’re building a Bug Out Bag (BOB) or a survival retreat. Just because we’re partial to the concept of FSP does not mean that other approaches are not valid or worth considering. This is especially true when making sure FSP is as simple as possible, while remaining comprehensive. Recently, I have been looking at a more simple preparedness model and how it relates to Every Day Carry (EDC) items, as well as FSP. This concept is called “The 5 C’s of Survival”

10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness

Before going any further, let’s do a quick review of the 10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness

  • Security Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to keep your family and provisions safe.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to protect you and your possesions from the elements.
  • Health (Personal), Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Everything needed to keep you and your family healthy.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to support your family’s transportation needs.
  • Family & Community Support: Building family and community networks and ties focused on helping you prepare for, and live through short or long term emergencies.
  • Financial Preparedness: Wealth; as well as the ideas and skills to help building and protect your wealth.
  • Food Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge for food gathering, preparation and storage.
  • Water Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge for gathering, purifying and storing the water necessary for health, hygiene, sanitation or other purposes.
  • Communications Preparedness: Items, skills, techniques and knowledge necessary to maintain communications within your family or group as well as with the outside would.
  • Cognitive, Mental & Spiritual Preparedness: Developing and incorporating preparedness skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to adapt, the mental strength necessary to persevere and faith in a higher power; fostering the “will to live” through even the toughest of times.

What are The 5 C’s Of Survival?

The fundamentals of FSP cover many topics, each interacting with the others to create a protective web about one’s life. As stated before, it is a scalable concept. It’s easy to see how it scales up. The question is, how does it get scaled down? Can the idea of FSP be made to fit in your front pocket? Well, maybe not in your pocket but certainly in your pockets and your head. When starting with the idea of Every Day Carry (EDC) items, it does provide us with a base to start with.

You can spend literally $100’s of dollars on EDC doo-dads and trinkets to fill your pockets . You can go out on the internet and find 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of links with people giving their advice on what you should carry at all times. According to the 5 C’s of Survival it’s as simple as counting to 5. There are five areas that should be covered by Every Day Carry (EDC) items that you should have on you, or immediately available at all times. They don’t have to break your budget, and they fulfill well over half of the FSP fundamentals. To remember what they are , all you need to remember is “The 5 C’s of Survival”; Cutting Tool, Combustion, Cordage, Cover, and Container.

(Note: The examples bullet pointed below are not all-inclusive, and are presented to give the reader a broader understanding of the FSP concept)

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #1 Cutting Tool

You should have some sort of cutting tool on your person, or in your pocket whenever you can. From day-to-day use, to an emergency, the ability to cut things is a must. Your cutting tool can be used for a myriad of things from cutting cordage, to tangled/stuck straps, to kindling, and beyond. It can be used to help create a shelter, as well as gathering food and water. As a last resort, it can even be used for protection. Optimally, you want a good quality folding knife in your pocket, or fixed blade on you belt, or around your neck. In a pinch, though you can use a lower quality, less expensive cutting tool, like a folding credit card knife. Remember having something is better than having nothing.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Lashed to a pole, or used in your hand, a knife can protect your life.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Cutting material for a shelter or making primitive clothing.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: First aid uses, such as removing splinters or cutting bandages.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Cutting the material to create a travois.
  • Financial Preparedness: A good quality knife can be a useful barter item
  • Food Preparedness: Used on a spear, or as part of a trap for hunting, as well as preparing caught/gathered food.
  • Water Preparedness: cutting items used as a container for gathering and storing water.  Creating tinder to start a fire for water purification.
  • Communications Preparedness: Light reflected of a polished blade makes a good signal

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #2 Combustion

The biggest threat in a survival situation is often the environment. An unprotected person can die from hypothermia in a matter of hours. Having the ability to start a fire is a must. The easiest method is to use a lighter. Carrying around a disposable lighter gives you the ability to start a fire in an instant. Flint and steel, strike anywhere matches, and hurricane lighters allow you to create a life saving fire under the most adverse conditions. Even a magnifying lens can be used under the right conditions to create fire.  You can spend money on expensive fire starting kits, or make one yourself, on the cheap. Whatever route you take, be sure you know, and practice how to use it. Having to learn in an extreme survival situation is a recipe for disaster.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: For eons mankind has huddled around the light of a fire in the dark of night for security from predators.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Smudging a primitive shelter to clear out bugs or drying wet clothes.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: First and foremost, a fire will keep you alive in a survival situation by warming a dangerously cold environment.  Incinerating waste or the infectious dead.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Fire for wood gasification or steam, as well as making a canoe.
  • Family & Community Support: Again, mankind has gathered around a fire for a sense of community or evening of storytelling for all of our existence.
  • Food Preparedness: Preserving food through smoking or cooking meals.
  • Water Preparedness: Purifying water through boiling.
  • Communications Preparedness: A signal fire can be used to mark one’s position for rescuers.  Charcoal can be used for writing.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #3 Cordage

Having some sort of cordage on you, or immediately available, is an easily, and oft-times over looked thing. A length of good quality cordage, like say 550 para cord, can come in handy in many ways. You can use it as lashing for creating a shelter. Game can be caught using it as a snare. It can be used for first aid as a tourniquet or to keep a splint in place. There are 1,000’s of more uses for it; your imagination is the only limit. One thing about cordage and EDC. It looks out-of-place carrying a 10 foot coil of 550 para cord on you waist. It’s an easy problem to fix, though. That 10 foot length can be braided in to an 8 inch paracord bracelet. You can make a belt, which would be somewhat fashionable at this time, with over 100 foot of para cord.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Cordage can be strung with hanging cans filled with rocks as a warning system.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Tied between 2 tress and length of cordage can hold up a tent, or tarp for shelter.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Tourniquets and splints can be made from cordage.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Use a length of cordage as lashing to hold equipment while traveling.
  • Family & Community Support: Games and toys can be made from cordage.
  • Financial Preparedness: Barter items could be made.
  • Food Preparedness: Snares will trap small game for food or hold foods while drying for storage.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #4 Cover

Out of the 5 C’s of survival, this one, and next are probably the hardest to carry on your person as EDC items. Cover entails having sort item that will protect you from the elements. The cheapest and simplest, which is also carriable is a mylar space blanket. They fold down into a small 3×5 inch package and will help ward off hypothermia. It can be wrapped around your body, used to reflect the flame from a fire, and even in combination with the cordage you are carrying to create a shelter. That aside, it is always smart to keep an extra blanket and change of clothes in your car or stashed at work.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Concealing your shelter will increase your security.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Tents, tarps, space blankets all help protect you from the elements.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Staying out of the elements will help you keep your health up.
  • Family & Community Support: Communal living helps create a sense of community.
  • Financial Preparedness: Extra clothing can be used as barter items.
  • Food Preparedness: You can protect food preparation with a blanket or tent from the elements.
  • Water Preparedness: Water can be gathered with tarps and blankets that are used for cover.
  • Communications Preparedness:  Tarps and blankets can be used a ground signals to attract rescuers attention.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #5 Container

The last of the 5 C’s of survival is having a container for gathering and carrying water. Preferrably, a water bottle with a filter is the most desirable. Bottles like these are more expensive. They can filter out harmful pollutants and contaminants from your drinking water, though. If you can’t spend the money on something like that, the next best thing is a metal water bottle, with a braided cordage lanyard, of course. You can boil water in them; purifying it for drinking. Plastic bottles will work, also. You will need to take in consideration how to purify your water, though. Like everything else on this list; having something is better than having nothing.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: You can extra clothes clean and dry in a larger enough container
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Keeping hydrated and cool by drinking water is essential.
  • Food Preparedness: Water gathered in you container can be used to clean, prepare and cook food.
  • Water Preparedness: Keeping clean water is essential towards survival.

The 5 C’s of Survival – The Unwritten 6th C

You’ll notice that missing from all the examples of how the 5 C’s interact with FSP is “Cognitive, Mental & Spiritual Preparedness”. That was not an oversight. I purposefully left off examples, because I wanted to highlight this last one by itself. No matter what you may carry, whether it be EDC items, or a full size survival kit, the most important tool for survival is your brain. Not having the skills and knowledge of survival preparedness turns everything you have with you into nothing more than lumps of plastic, leather, cotton, nylon, metal, etc.. Whatever you do, make sure you engage and use this most important tool in your kit.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – Conclusion

As I said, the 5 C’s of survival are considered the bare minimum you should have on your person, or close at hand, everyday. They each cover multiple aspects of disaster preparedness. If you are prudent, the chances of you being in a situation where you will need them to survive are really kind of small. If you are following the FSP doctrine at home, in your car, and elsewhere, then the 5 C’s of survival are already covered and in a much better and more methodical manner. At the end of the day, though, not having any one of the area’s covered, by not having these items on your person, or close at hand, could spell the difference between life or death.

Transportation in Full Spectrum Preparedness

Today we return to the our series introducing each of the 10 Foundations of Full Spectrum Preparedness in more detail.  In these articles we’ll start fleshing out the Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness.  Essentially, this series will discuss each Fundamental’s place in our Full Spectrum Preparedness cognitive model and briefly discuss how each Fundamental interacts with the other nine.  These articles are about the concepts, in later articles we’ll provide practical tactics, techniques and procedures for each Fundamental.  We continue this discussion with Transportation in Full Spectrum Preparedness:

Why is Transportation Preparedness Important

Transportation preparedness serves a key support role in your preparedness efforts.  In the event of a breakdown of modern transportation networks, a fuel distribution interruption, an electro magnetic pulse or even societal or personal economic difficulties you will need a transportation plan.  For transportation planning you should consider a layered approach with backup and alternate plans.  Some of the potentials requirements you should plan primary and backup transportation plans are: (more…)

Food in Full Spectrum Preparedness

Today we return to the second in our series introducing each of the 10 Foundations of Full Spectrum Preparedness in more detail.  In these articles we’ll start fleshing out the Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness.  Essentially, this series will discuss each Fundamental’s place in our Full Spectrum Preparedness cognitive model and briefly discuss how each Fundamental interacts with the other nine.  These articles are about the concepts, in later articles we’ll provide practical tactics, techniques and procedures for each Fundamental.  We continue this discussion with Food in Full Spectrum Preparedness:

Why is Food Preparedness Important

While you can survive months without food in optimum conditions, there are physical and mental changes that begin to take place after even a short time without sustenance.  Having adequate food supplies and the skill to turn them into nutritious meals is a life skill that takes on even more importance during and in the aftermath of a disaster.

You must plan for food preparation as well.  Does your food require cooking to make it safe or palatable…if so how will you cook it if your electricity, natural gas or propane sources aren’t available or serviceable.  If you had to cook over and open flame do you have the fuel and cookware necessary.  Are your pans flame safe?  We’ll discuss emergency and austere environment cooking techniques in later articles, but these are some considerations you should begin to think about.

Whole books and websites are devoted entirely to nutrition planning and we won’t try to duplicate that here… but you should spend some time planning well balanced meals for any preparedness plan lasting more than just a few days.

Aspects of Food Preparedness


Water in Full Spectrum Preparedness

Today we introduce the first of a 10 article series that we’ll publish over the next 3 weeks introducing each of the 10 Foundations of Full Spectrum Preparedness in more detail.  In these articles we’ll start fleshing out the Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness.  Essentially, this series will discuss each Fundamental’s place in our Full Spectrum Preparedness cognitive model and briefly discuss how each Fundamental interacts with the other nine.  These articles are about the concepts, in later articles we’ll provide practical tactics, techniques and procedures for each Fundamental.  We begin with this discussion of Water in Full Spectrum Preparedness:

Why is Water Preparedness Important

It’s often been said that you can only live three days without water…that’s not true.  I’ve read accounts of lost hikers dying from dehydration in as little as an afternoon and accounts of others living for up to a week (in optimum conditions) without water.  That said, water is critical to maintaining life and therefore water preparedness is a critical element to your survival.  Water is elemental (pun intended) to sanitation and food preparation as well as life itself.

The most basic use of water of course is for drinking/food preparation.  There are two basic ways to make water potable (with many variations).  Water can be treated (chemically, heated or UV), or filtered.  We’ll discuss individual techniques in later articles, but those are the basic options.

Because water isn’t something you can do without… you should plan for a minimum of three water sources if the tap suddenly stops working.

  1. Stored for immediate needs.  1/2 to 3 Gallons per person
  2. A primary water source that’s as convenient as possible to your living area for situations your stored water can’t handle
  3. A secondary source if the primary dries up or otherwise becomes unavailable

Aspects of Water Preparedness


Introduction to Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine

I started Prepography to encourage self reliance, help people get started prepping and help established preppers get to the next level in their efforts.  I believe that when our family, friends and neighbors are better prepared…so are we.  To this end I’ve been working on the next step with a small group of like minded preppers.  Our goal is to develop a conceptual framework to codify and help you direct your own preparedness efforts.  We call this concept the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine.

Defining the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine

Before we discuss the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine in detail let’s break it down and define it:

  • Full:  [fu̇l] Complete, entire, or maximum.  Also, abundant or well-supplied.
  • Spectrum:  [spek-truhm]  A broad range of varied but related ideas or objects, the individual features of which tend to overlap so as to form a continuous series or sequence.
  • Preparedness:  [pri-pair-id-nis] The state of being prepared;  readiness.
  • Doctrine:  [dok-trin] A conceptual framework that provides context and drives individual teachings or operations relating to a particular subject.

Therefore, the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine is a conceptual framework that provides the complete range of related, overlapping concepts required for individual, family or group readiness.

The Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine as a Cognitive Model

Full Spectrum Preparedness is being developed as a doctrine applicable to all preppers at all preparedness levels in all geographic areas.  Full Spectrum Preparedness was created because other preparedness ‘programs’ are one or more of the following:  too dogmatic, too simple, too complex, too expensive to implement, too focused on a particular type of calamity or are too reliant on situations that aren’t universal (owning a farm, having unlimited storage capability, etc.).

Full Spectrum Preparedness is a cognitive model to help you become better prepared based on your own analysis of the risks you may face.  We’ll delve deeper into how to evaluate threats in another article, but it’s important that you know that Full Spectrum Preparedness isn’t a one-size-fits-nobody program but a doctrine built on ten preparedness fundamentals.  These fundamentals will form the basis for an open dialog you can have with your family or preparedness group.  This doctrine is a perpetual work in progress and I encourage you to contribute to the dialog both in your personal life and on the pages of Prepography.

Important Aspects of Preparedness Fundamentals

Aspects of Full Spectrum Preparedness FundamentalsThe ten preparedness fundamentals provide the conceptual foundations for Full Spectrum Preparedness as well as providing the basis for an efficient and effective preparedness plan.  Ultimately, it is your family’s application of these fundamentals that will enable you to build resilience and allow you to survive and possibly even thrive in adverse situations.  Although you don’t need to prepare to the same level in each of these fundamentals, keep in mind that many are mutually supportive or complementary.

As you begin thinking about each preparedness fundamental, consider that most of the fundamentals have four separate aspects that can compensate for one another to a certain extent:

  • Knowledge:  Knowing that something can be done and generally how do it.  For example:  Knowing that you can make a fire with a bow drill (a primitive fire starting technique).
  • Skills:  Being able to implement your knowledge and have a tangible result.  For example:  Being able to make a fire with a bow drill.
  • Stuff:  Stores, supplies, equipment, etc.  For example:  Having a bow drill or the materials needed to make one.
  • Network:  The human network of family, friends, acquaintances, etc.  For example:  Knowing someone who has a bow drill…or a box of matches they’re willing to trade.

Introducing the Ten Preparedness Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness


18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents

Water is a key component of survival. Water security falls under more than one section of the Full Spectrum Preparedness doctrine. This article highlights how water is integral in the Health & Medical Preparedness function of the FSP doctrine. Based off the ideas in the manual “Where There Is No Doctor” by David Werner, Jane Maxwell, and Carol Thurman (free download) or purchase as paperback, it details: 

18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents

1) Prevent diarrhea, worms, gut infections – Filtering and boiling water before using it for drinking, or hygiene, will help kill germs and bacteria that can cause diarrhea, worms, and gut infections. In third world countries, and in areas hit by disaster these are the leading causes of sickness, and death, especially among children.
2) Prevent Skin Infections – By bathing often, in clean, treated water, you can help prevent skin infections like impetigo, ring worm and folliculitis; among others. These highly infectious infections can run rampant through a population that doesn’t bath properly, and often, as part of their hygiene practices.
3) Prevent wounds from becoming infected – The danger of a wound becoming infected is greatly reduced if it is washed thoroughly with clean water and soap, as soon as possible. Infected wounds can lead to other problems, all the way through death, if not treated properly.
4) Treat Diarrhea and dehydration – Diarrhea is one of the largest cause of death throughout the world. The diarrhea itself does not kill the patient. It is the associated dehydration that ultimately kills them. When struck with a bout of diarrhea, drink plenty of water/liquids.
5) Treat Illness With Fever – The high temperatures associated with fevers can lead to complications that staying hydrated might prevent. By maintaining proper hydration, you can circumvent situation that can lead to more dangerous condition as well as reducing discomfort and symptoms.
6) Treat A High Fever – Along with the dangers of dehydration, a high fever can also pose a threat from the temperature itself. If a fever goes over 103 degrees F, brain damage and organ failure can result. Soaking a patient with a wet, cool compress can help reduce a dangerously high temperature and increase comfort. In extreme cases, submerging the patient in a cool bath, or ice may mean the difference between life and death.
7) Treat Minor Urinary Infections – This common ailment can strike men and women of any age. They can be very painful, and lead to life threatening complications. Mixing 1 cup of water with 1 tsp of baking soda then drinking can help alleviate some of the discomfort. While it may not be the most appetizing of combinations, the mixture may be able to help lessen the intensity of a urinary tract infection or UTI.
8) Treat Coughs, Asthma, Bronchitis and Pneumonia – Again, maintaining proper hydration is key to good health and healing. When you have a cough, asthma, bronchitis, or pneumonia drink plenty of water. You can also help loosen mucus by inhaling hot water vapors
9) Treat Sores, Impetigo, Ringworm, Cradle cap, A Pimple – If infected by one of the aforementioned ailments, the best solution is to washing with soap and water. using a wash cloth, lightly scrub the area. This will help remove dead and infected tissue, and promote faster healing.
10) Treat Infected Wounds, Abscesses And Boils – Once an infection gets deep enough, more than simple washing may be called for. Soaking in a hot tub, or using a hot compress can help alleviate discomfort, as well as draw out infection from wounds, abscesses and boils. If done early enough, lancing, or excising the infected area may not be necessary.
11) Treat Stiff/Sore Muscles And Joints – Taking a hot soak, or using hot compresses will relieve pain from muscles and joint made stiff by over use and stress. The increased blood flow they generate will also help quicken the healing process.
12) Treat Strains And Sprains – By alternating cold and hot soaks, you can hasten recover from strains ans sprains. The cold soak will lessen swelling, improving comfort, and the hot soaks will increase blood flow, which helps with recovery.
13) Treat Itching, Burning, Or Weeping Skin Irritations – The pain and irritation from rashes caused by things like poison ivy and poison oak can be lessened with a cold compress.
14) Treat Minor Burns – After receiving a minor burn, immediately hold the effected area under cold water. This will help numb the area, and reduce any swelling that may occur.
15) Treat sore throats or tonsillitis – The most common home remedy for treating a sore throat, or infected tonsils, is to gargle with a warm salt water solution. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt per glass of water, and gargle. Ensure you get the solution to the very back of your throat.
16) Acid, Dirt or Irritating Substance In Eye – If you get a foreign substance, or chemical in your eye, thoroughly flush the eye with cold water at once. Continue to do so for 30 minutes.
17) Treat Constipation Or Hard Stools – Drinks lots of water can help hydrate your dietary tract. This will help treat, and prevent, constipation and hard stools.
18) Treat Cold Sores Or Fever Blisters – At the first sign of a cold sore, or fever blister, hold an ice-cube on the inflamed area for several minutes. This will help keep the swelling down, as well as numbing the associated pain.

Where There Is No Doctor18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents – Conclusion

While water can help prevent and heal, as this list highlights, hydration is the common thread in recovery. Proper hydration is only attainable if you have a clean, safe source of water. To learn more about water preparedness, click on the Prepography links below:

Top 10 Thoughts For Better SHTF Nutrition

Providing better nutrition is always a concern, even in the best of times. In a SHTF scenario, it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Food security/preparedness is one of the 10 tenants of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine, and providing better nutrition is a key component of that.  In the interests of helping you improve your food preparedness and security through good times and bad, Prepography presents the Top 10 Thoughts for Better SHTF Nutrition:

Top 10 Thoughts for Better SHTF Nutrition

1.  Think Chicken & Eggs – It doesn’t matter which came first as Chickens provide the cheapest animal protein, pound for pound, to produce. Their meat is low-fat, and high in nutrients. They also produce eggs, which provide additional nutritional benefits. Chicken meat and eggs can be prepared a variety of ways for consumption and storage. Even egg shells can be boiled and finely ground then added to food for additional protein.

2.  Think With Your Guts – Actually, think about guts.  Liver, kidneys, hearts and even blood are can be very nutritious. Many people turn their noses up at them for a variety of reasons and liver was considered to be dog food until the Great Depression but there are many ways to prepare them to make delicious meals.  One of the axioms in food prepping is that if you don’t eat it normally you won’t eat it in times of crisis so give some of these other protein sources a try with the following recipes.

Note: 1. These are ‘good times’ recipes to introduce you these foods which can also be prepared in more austere conditions. 2. Those with certain medical conditions should avoid organ meats. Consult your physician about dietary restrictions for any chronic medical conditions you have.

3.  Think Beans, Peas, Lentils And Other Legumes – These provide a good, inexpensive source of protein. That’s why legumes are a key staple in most Preppers’ pantries.  Not only are these inexpensive to buy but they are easily purchased in bulk quantities and if properly packaged they can last for decades.  Also, don’t forget include legumes in your garden.  They are easily grown and help fix nitrogen in the soil for the benefit of subsequent and companion plantings.

4.  Think Green Leafy Vegetables – Kermit the Frog is famous for quipping “it’s not easy being green” but it also isn’t easy staying healthy without your greens.  Green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin A, iron and other essential minerals.  These veggies promote good vision, support regulating genes, help maintain healthy skin, enhance the immune system and help produce red blood cells.  Eat lots of green leafy vegetables to ward off vitamin A deficiency which can cause impaired vision and increases susceptibility to infectious diseases.

5.  Think Corny – Unprocessed corn (maize) is deficient in niacin, which is problematic when corn is used as a staple food in a diet. Soaking unprocessed corn in pickling lime, aka nixtamalizing, provides better nutrition by freeing up Vitamin B3 and reducing mycotoxins (a type of fungus that can be dangerous).  Additionally, nixtamalized corn is more easily ground and has a better aroma.

6.  Think Whole Grains – Rice, wheat and other grains are more nutritious without the outer husk removed. They are important sources of nutrients, minerals and dietary fiber. Whole grains can also help with reducing the risk of heart disease, gastric problems, weight management, and can help during pregnancy and fetal development. Since whole grains are less processed than other grains they also tend to be less expensive.

7.  Think About How You Cook Your Food – Boiling meats and vegetables removes nutrients, decreasing their nutritional value. Steaming is a great alternative to boiling vegetables but if you must boil a food, use as little water as necessary and drink the water you used to recoup some of your lost nutrients.

8.  Think About Wild Fruits, Berries & Nuts – Foraging for wild fruits and berries can provide you with a rich source of vitamin C and sugars.  While this is a very seasonal method of finding a low-cost foods, it is a very good one and there are preservation methods to store your harvest. Nuts are a great source of protein that typically don’t take much energy to acquire.  In addition to improving your nutrition, nuts, fruits and berries also provide variety to your diet and fruits and berries can be surprisingly satisfying to your sweet tooth if it hasn’t been spoiled recently by processed sugars.

9.  Think Like An Iron Man – If you find yourself eating a diet deficient in iron, find ways to add iron back in like cooking your meal on/in cast iron.  Some folks have gone to very creative, sometimes dangerous extremes to add iron to their diet by doing thinks like adding a horseshoe to the bottom of a non-iron cook pot or placing iron nails into water enhanced with citrus (acidic) squeezings to leach the iron out of the nails…this isn’t a recommended technique for obvious reasons.

10.  Think Like a Baby – Baby food is nutritionally dense, well-balanced, portable and has a long shelf life.  Adults and children of all ages can benefit from these foods if they can be purchased affordably.  These also make a safer diet to use for a member of your group who has become ill and is unable to eat rougher foods.  Mix with cereals or other ‘gruels’ as your invalid becomes more robust.

Bonus 1:  Think About Your First Meal – Studies have shown that breast milk will help protect babies from a long list on illnesses. Additionally, it helps babies from developing allergies. In times of crisis, breast-feeding my also be the only option for providing proper nutrition for newborns and toddlers.  If yours is a formula family…consider this more natural alternative.

Cassava LeavesBonus 2:  Think about Cassava Leaves – If your environment is tropical or subtropical think cassava.  Young cassava leaves provide good nutrition due to high content of protein, minerals and vitamins. They can contain up to 7 times the protein as other vegetables. In addition to reportedly increasing stamina, they also contain vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, calories, phosphorus, protein, fat, carbohydrate and iron. Used as herbal medicine they are said to aid or relieve rheumatism, headache, fever, fester and diarrhea.

If you intend on using Cassava to supplement your other foodstuffs make sure to learn how to properly prepare it to remove any residual cyanide.

Conclusion to the Top 10 Thoughts for Better SHTF Nutrition

It bears repeating, at this point, that your brain is the most important tool in your preparedness and survival inventory. Creating and executing a proper nutritional plan is key to living a long and healthy life. The ideas listed above should not be looked on solely as emergency options. They should be looked at as practical, everyday ideas that can be integrated into your daily diet as well as your preparations. Not giving consideration to your nutritional needs as you develop your supplies could easily lead you to be missing key ingredients or components. Even if you are able to scavenge some of what is needed above, chances are it will be of inferior quality, or you will be fighting others for a limited resource. Plan and lay in your supplies now for better nutrition later and so that when the SHTF you aren’t left wanting and searching for other options.

First Aid For Frostbite In 5 Steps

Winter is almost upon us and freezing temperatures are already here.  Part of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine is recognizing the dangers we may face and being able to address them.  One of the major dangers in cold weather is frostbite.  Knowing first aid for frostbite is an important first aid skill to know once freezing temperatures arise.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite is a medical condition that results from the freezing of the body’s tissue. It usually affects the parts of the body that are farthest from the heart and large patches of exposed skin. Frostbite is characterized by the constriction of the skin, as blood is shunted to the body’s core in an attempt to maintain body temperature. The affected tissue freezes, and ice crystals form inside the body’s cells. As the tissue thaws, symptoms range from pain and itching (1st degree) to deep tissue damage (3rd and 4th degree), which can result in the necessity to amputate or excise dead tissue. Death can occur if left untreated, so it is important to seek medical assistance and know first aid for frostbite.

Treating Frostbite In 5 Steps.

Step One
Get out of the cold. If you can not, do not start treating frostbite until you reach safety.

Step 2
Before treating frostbite, remove any jewelry, as swelling will occur as the tissue thaws.

Step 3
Submerge the affected area in body-temperature water. Change the water as it cools down. Try to keep the water at a constant temperature.

Step 4
Use body heat for treating mild cases of frostbite, if water is not available.

Step 5
Wrap damaged tissue in sterile bandages to protect the affected area from infection. Wrap affected digits (fingers and toes) in individual wrappings.

Remember in any case of frostbite, seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.

WARNING!!! When treating frostbite, DO NOT place frostbite victim near a fire or heater. If nerve damage has occurred, they may not feel tissue burning if placed too close to the flame.

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Using a chainsaw to cut wood is an essential part of maintaining a homestead and providing your home with an alternative heating fuel source. Both of the aforementioned are integral parts of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine. Whether you are an experienced chainsaw user, or a novice starting out, any time of year is a good time to cut wood.  In my book, now is the best time, though. Late fall is upon us, and we’ve had our first hard freeze. This is for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s not too hot, or too cold; making cutting wood much more comfortable.
  • Most of the things bite, sting and make you itch have been killed off with the first freeze.
  • The small underlying vegetation and leaves have died back, or fallen, making it easier to move around and get to trees that will be cut.

With this in mind, here are Prepography‘s:

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

1) Select a model that is dependable , that you can handle, and is the right size for what you are cutting.
Chainsaws come in a variety of sizes, from a number of manufacturers. Like anything else you buy, “you get what you pay for”. There are some inexpensive reliable models, as well as some more expensive unreliable ones. Consumer reviews are great at helping you decide which one is best quality and best suited to your needs. Chainsaws range from small electric models with 12 inch bar blades, suitable only for cutting small limbs, to huge industrial ones with large bow blades used for lumberjacking. A novice would not want to start with one of the latter, as it would be too unwieldy for them. Conversely, they may find the smaller one incapable of doing what they want. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to comfortably lift the chainsaw, and the blade should be about 1/4 to 1/3rd larger than what you want to cut. Engine power and size, known as HP and displacement, are usually dependent on the blade size, and are matched at the factory. The biggest reason all this is important is safety. When using a chainsaw, use the proper tool for the proper job.

2) Get familiar with your chainsaw.
Before you even start your chainsaw, read the operators manual. Book learn the tool and its operation. Know how to maintain it. Learn proper safety precautions for using a chainsaw. Thanks to the internet, there are videos, and online courses you can watch. Your local chainsaw dealer, or big box DYI store might even offer training courses as well. Lacking all this, find someone with experience to teach you. Even if you are an experienced chainsaw user, it is good to periodically review the manual; lest you become complacent or forget something.

3) Do a maintenance and safety check on your chainsaw.
Before using a chainsaw, check to ensure everything is in proper working order. Check all the fluid levels, and ensure that you are using the proper ones. Chainsaws use a special mix of small engine oil and gas. There is also specially weighted oil for use in small engines. Using improper fuel and oil will cause damage to your chainsaw. In addition to the fluids, make sure everything is mechanically good on your chainsaw. Ensure nuts and bolts are tight. Ensure the chain is fitted properly and sharp. Not only is all this important for the long life of the chainsaw, but safety as well. Once you’ve done all the above, fire up your chainsaw and make sure it runs properly. Be sure to always use two hands when operating your chainsaw.

4) Starting your chainsaw.
The proper methods of starting your chainsaw is as follows:

  1. Engage the chain brake before you start your chainsaw.
  2. Hold the front handle with your left hand and lock the body of the saw head between your legs.
  3. Pull the start cord with your right hand using short, fast strokes.


  1. Place the chainsaw on the ground and put your foot through the back handle to hold the chainsaw down.
  2. Hold the front handle with your left hand
  3. Pull the start cord with your right hand using short, fast strokes.

5) Suiting up and safety gear.
When operating your chainsaw, be sure you have the proper safety clothing and gear. At a bare minimum, you should have proper heavy-duty outdoor work attire, safety gloves, safety glasses/goggles, and hearing protection. Additionally, you could wear a leather apron and chaps to protect your torso and legs. A safety helmet and face shield also improves safety. Other gear that improves safety are straps or chains with a come-a-long, for securing things being cut and a maul and wedges in case your blade gets bound in a cut.

6) Know your cuts.

There are four basiccutsthatare made with a chainsaw. The cuts are:

  • Felling: This is the act of cutting down a tree.
  • Limbing: This is removing limbs from the tree before or after it is felled.
  • Trimming: This is cutting limbs back or taking off branches on a limb.
  • Bucking: This is cutting the “log” or trunk of the tree in usable pieces, for instance, fireplace lengths.

Each of these have considerations addressed. Where will the cut piece will fall? Are there any obstruction, like power lines, buildings and vehicles. What is the proper length I need to cut the wood in for transport and usage? These are some of the more prominent questions that need to be asked. You may come up with others, each time you cut wood.

Beware of Kickback When making Your Cuts: This occurs when the blade of the chainsaw catches, comes to a sudden stop and throws back toward the operator. Most of the time this happens when the upper tip of the cutting bar gets in to the cut. So, avoid getting this part of the blade into the cut if possible. Having a firm grip on your chainsaw, a firm stance, and a stable location will help in the event of a kickback.

7) Inspect the area and have a plan.
After you’ve taken your properly working chainsaw in to the field and before you make your first cut, have a plan. Inspect the area you will be working in and what you will be cutting any hazards you should know about. Hidden barbed wire, rocks, or other obstructions could cause you to trip, with a running chainsaw. Or, they can be embedded in the tree you are cutting; hitting which can ruin you chainsaw and/or cause you injury. If felling a tree, look for lean, excess growth, or obstructions. All of these could cause the tree to fall an unexpected direction. If cutting a fallen tree, or limbs, check to see how they are laying. Make sure that when you cut a limb, the whole thing won’t shift, because you’ve just taken a support out from underneath it.

Safety Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Drawing courtesy of Mother Earth News

8) Begin cutting you wood.
Once you’ve done all the above, you are ready to start cutting. Here are some safety tips for chainsaw use from the US Forestry Service:

  • Keep upper tip of bar in solid wood.
  • If cutting a log from below, do it in two stages: first cut from above, then make another cut from below to meet the first.
  • Hold the chainsaw with both hands.
  • Grip the handle by putting your thumb around it.
  • Keep your elbow locked.
  • Never cut above shoulder height.
  • Keep the saw close to your body.
  • Use a saw with chain brake.
  • Start every cut under full throttle.
  • Keep the chain sharp.

7 Spices For Preppers

Spices are an integral part of cooking. Any one who cooks or eats knows how much better food is if it’s properly spiced.  Spices add more than flavor and complexity to foods they can also make a meal healthier or impart medicinal characteristics.  In a survival situation the food you are able to procure may be of lower quality, questionable freshness or maybe just monotonous. Spices can make these borderline foods more palatable and enjoyable.  Many Preppers lay in a good supply of spices in to their food preps but often overlook the health aspect of spices. Beyond sprucing up an other wise bland meal these spices provide additional health benefits. The multiple uses of these spices fit in to the core philosophy of Full Spectrum Preparedness.

The listing below of the purported health benefits of spices is not to be considered medical advice and home remedies should not take the place of regular medical care when such care is available.

7 Spices For PreppersI have scoured the web and compiled a list of 7 spices for preppers to stock up on for their health benefits.  Some of these spices have 10 to 20 known health benefits listed. In the interest of brevity, and sticking to the idea of this being a survival/prepper themed site, I have narrowed the benefits down. I have only listed the top 5 or 6 benefits per spice.  In most cases, these benefits relate directly to a survival situation. For example, many of the spices listed have shown to help prevent cancer. That will still be a concern in a SHTF scenario but it is not one that will be of immediate concern for most.  On the other hand, many of these spices are also reputed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Popping in to the corner drug emporium may not be an option in a crisis situation so let’s learn more about spices as they might come in extremely handy. Without further adieu, here is Prepography‘s list of:

7 Spices For Preppers

1. Cinnamon

1) High in Nutrients – It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
2) Yeast Infection Help – In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
3) Anti-Clotting – It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
4) Arthritis Relief – In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
5) Anti-Bacterial – When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
6) E. Coli Fighter – Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in your coffee grounds before brewing
  • Stir into your honey to sweeten your tea
  • Mix cinnamon into yogurt or sprinkling it on oatmeal
  • Sprinkle into a traditional PB&J

2. Oregano

1) Immune System Support – It has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings, with 42 times the antioxidant punch of apples.
2) Antifungal/Antibacteriall – Its essential oils may kill the food borne pathogen Listeria and the superbug MRSA; making it a useful addition to hand soaps and disinfectants.
3) Anti-inflammatory – It contains beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), a substance that inhibits inflammation and may also be beneficial for conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis.
4) Treatment Of Respiratory Infections – It encourages sweat production as a mode of detox, and ingesting it may help your body to get rid of unwanted phlegm in your lungs.
5) Cancer-Fighting Effects – It has also been “evaluated for anti-cancer properties in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancer with promising results (Source).”

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Add oregano to commercial or homemade pasta or pizza sauce
  • Sprinkle oregano onto a grilled cheese sandwich
  • Sprinkle a sliced tomato with oregano, a grind of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

3. Rosemary

1) Immune Booster – It boosts the immune system thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Because it is healing in so many ways, it boosts the overall health of the body.
2) Pain Relief/Anti-Inflamatory – Its essential oil can be applied topically as a natural treatment for arthritis, sore muscles, and other joint and muscle pains. It also contains two potent anti-inflammatories, which inhibited COX-2, an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation in the body.
3) Digestive Health – It is often used to help treat digestive problems such as upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, and almost any other digestive related problem. It also helps to prevent food borne illnesses when ingested with foods such as meat or eggs.
4) Fresh Breath – It can be used as a natural mouthwash and is said to work very well.
5)Diuretic and Detoxification Properties – It is a mild diuretic, and can help the kidneys function at optimal levels to help get rid of excess water in the body. It has also been used to treat liver problems for thousands of years; the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates even prescribed it for this purpose.
6)Respiratory Health – It is a great natural remedy for respiratory problems. Breathing in the scent of the essential oil can help with congestion due to colds, allergies, respiratory infections, and the flu. Doing this has also been shown to help alleviate migraine, as well.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Include rosemary in marinades for meats and tomato sauces
  • Add it to whole grain breads and rolls
  • Steep in a pint of heated water, strain, and use as a mouth rinse
  • Boil fresh rosemary in a pot of water, and breathe in the steam

4. Turmeric

1) Natural Antiseptic – It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. As a result, it speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
2) Detoxification Properties – Is a natural liver detoxifier.
3) Alzheimer’s Prevention – It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
4) Natural Painkiller – It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
5) Depression – It has been used as a treatment for depression.
6) Skin Condition Treatment – It may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Stir into egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad mixes for lunch
  • Add to simmer sauces for poultry
  • Whisk into dips and vinaigrettes for cooked vegetables

5. Thyme

1) Anti-Inflammatory – It contains anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent chronic inflammation of the body systems.
2) Antibacterial – Its antimicrobial properties have proven to help fight a variety of bacterial and fungi, including e. coli, staphalococcus aureus, and shigella. Thyme oil extract shows good efficacy against antibiotic resistant strains of several different types of bacteria.
3) Respiratory Health – It has been used for centuries to treat chest and respiratory conditions like coughs and bronchitis.
4) High In Iron – It can provide nearly 20% of the DV per 2.8 grams. Iron is essential for energy production and iron deficiency may cause anemia, fatigue and make the body more susceptible to infection.
5) Bone Health – It is a good source of iron, calcium and manganese which are all essential to promoting proper bone growth, maintaining strong, healthy bones and preventing bone disease.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Mix with honey and tea for a good cold/flu remedy
  • Whisk it in salad dressings and creamy dips
  • Sprinkle it on cooked vegetables and fish
  • Include it in stir-fries or sautes

6. Ginger

1) Morning Sickness Relief – It is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
2) Motion Sickness Remedy – It has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
3) Reduces Pain and Inflammation – It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.
4) Heartburn Relief – It has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
5) Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment – Long used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flu or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.
6) Menstrual Cramp Relief – In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Sprinkle onto fresh fruit slices
  • Stirred into yogurt or ice cream
  • Mixed with honey and use as a glaze, marinade, or sauce
  • Steep in a tea

7. Dried Red Peppers

1) High In Vitamin C – Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
2) Decrease Anxiety – They are high In vitamin B6 and magnesium, which used on combination helps decrease anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms.
3) Natural Diuretic – The vitamin B6 in red peppers can decrease bloating and prevent against hypertension.
4) Promote Healthy Night Vision – They are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision.
5) Increased Metabolism – Sweet red peppers have a mild thermogenic action that increases metabolism without increasing heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Add to humus, guacamole, cottage cheese and even mashed potatoes
  • Use in marinades or dressings
  • Sprinkle directly on to foods

Long Term Storage of Spices And Herbs

As a rule of thumb, properly prepared and stored spices and herbs will have a shelf life of:

  • Dried, whole spices and herbs: up to 3 years
  • Seeds and barks: over 2 years
  • Roots: over 2 years

Helpful things to remember when storing spices and herbs long-term:

  • Seal them in airtight containers such as food saver and mylar bags, or vacuum sealed half pint mason jars with oxygen absorbers.
  • The best storage temperature for herbs and spices is one that is fairly constant and below 70º F.
  • Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation, ruining your stores.
  • Store them out of direct sunlight, such as a pantry of root cellar.
  • It’s OK to store large quantities in an airtight containers in a freezer
  • Don’t mix spices and herbs in the same container, the flavors and aromas will taint each other.

7 Spices For Preppers – Conclusion

The 7 spices and herbs listed here are by no means the only ones that provide additional health benefits. They just happen to be the ones that popped up most commonly during my search. To find more health benefits from other spices and herbs, check out this page EveryNutrient – Herbs and Spices. It gives a brief summary of the health benefits of a multitude of spices.

Andrew’s Note:  Even if you aren’t stocking up, buying spices at the grocery store is for suckers who want to pay too much…buy spices in bulk online or from a local Amish store and keep in the freezer until needed or the freezer doesn’t work anymore…then transfer to a cool, dark area as described above.

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