Andrew’s Note: When I was a kid I always carried a bandana…maybe it’s time to start again. Looks like these guys who built the 60 Bandana Uses Infographic aren’t around on the internet anymore so there’s no link back to the source website.
Andrew’s Note: A few years ago I took a group of kids out to the woods, broke them down into several groups and challenged them to build a campfire. I had a prize waiting for the first group to successfully start their campfire…it was a very long wait. Knowing how to build a campfire was skill nearly every child learned when I was a kid…not so anymore. This is a critically important skill that’s key to protecting yourself from the elements in cold weather…pass it on.
In the article, Introduction to Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine we briefly discussed the ten fundamentals of preparedness, how they overlap and interact as well as how each fundamental has four aspects. Today we’re going to establish some conventions to aid us in our future discussions of how long to prepare for.
I’m working on a probability model (if you’re a mathematician and want to help please contact me) to help those readers that are mathematically inclined chose how long to prepare for…but for today’s discussion we’re going to simplify things a little and talk about preparedness time horizons. For convenience, I’ve broken the time horizons down into ‘Preparedness Levels.’
While there’s no reason a person, family or group couldn’t prepare to different levels in different fundamentals…you should keep in mind that your overall preparedness level is that of your ‘lowest level’ preparedness fundamental. For example: if your family is prepared to Level III, Weeks in every fundamental except Health (where you are prepared to Level I) than your overall preparedness level is Level I, Days.
Take a look at the graphic to the right to remind yourself of what the aspects of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Fundamental are. You can review the 10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness HERE if need be or look at the Graphic towards the end of this article.. Keep in mind as you read about the Preparedness Levels that different aspects become more or less dominant at different Preparedness Levels and factor that into your preparedness planning.
You and your family are unable to get through the next 72 hours without making purchases, borrowing from others or seeking charity. Perhaps your life sustaining prescription is about to run out, your pantry is almost bare or you don’t have a source of safe, potable water if the tap suddenly stops working. Continue reading
Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.
Max Mayfield, Director National Hurricane Center
This article will provide a brief introduction to Risk Management for Preparedness, but it’s techniques can be applied to every aspect of your life.
We each do Risk Management every day of our lives, often without even being consciously aware of the process. Some examples of day-to-day Risk Management are:
The above are some examples of informal Risk Management. Risk Management can also be performed as a deliberate process. The deliberate process is better suited to riskier, more complex activities and operations and is a relatively easy process to learn if you take the time to practice it. In this article I’m going to discuss the U.S. Army’s way of doing Risk Management but simplify it a little and show you how this process can aid you in your preparedness planning and execution.
Note: For those of you familiar with the Army’s Composite Risk Management Process (CRM) I’ve modified the model to better support preparedness planning and survival situations. Also, I’m going to stop short of discussing the CRM Matrix. If there’s enough interest in this topic I’ll do a more advanced article explaining the use of that tool and perhaps tailoring a Risk Matrix specifically to help Prepography readers focus their preparedness efforts and keep safe in disasters, post collapse or survival situations.
As mentioned above the U.S. Army calls their program Composite Risk Management and applies the process to every operation and activity. The Army describes Composite Risk Management as “a decision-making process used to mitigate risks associated with all hazards that have the potential to injure or kill personnel, damage or destroy equipment, or otherwise impact mission effectiveness.”
As a prepper you can use this same tool, apply this same process to your preparedness efforts. This process can help the prepper with decisions as simple as deciding what type of backup heating to install in your home or to a decision as big and complex as deciding how long of a time period you need to prepare your family for. Continue reading
I was having a beer the other day with a prepper buddy and the conversation turned to what types of shelter are best to carry in a bug out bag… and that’s when the discussion turned to the poncho hooch also known as the poncho shelter. The poncho hooch is basically a tarp shelter made from a poncho, and a little cordage. Building a poncho hooch is easy so let’s look at a few alternatives: Continue reading
The military has put a great deal of effort recently to helping service members build resilience because increased resilience or ‘resistance to stress’ makes it much easier for a person to ‘continue their mission’ or keep taking care of their family when danger, fear and discomfort intrude. Resilience is important to preparedness as well. Here are Prepography’s Top 10 Tips to Build Resilience to Stress:
Here’s something that doesn’t weigh a thing to add to your Get Home Bag or Bug Out Bag… a little knowledge about how to build a Dakota Fire Pit. While a fireless camp is the least likely to be observed there may be times when a fire is absolutely necessary…water purification by boiling (when you have no other methods available) or to avoid hypothermia are two possibilities that come to mind. Such situations call for a Dakota Fire Pit also known as the Dakota Fire Hole… the next most clandestine camp to a fireless camp.
Essentially the Dakota Fire Pit is a fire pit with a separate tunnel built to supply airflow directly to the fuel. By keeping the fire below ground you reduce the light signature of the fire significantly and are able to get by with a much smaller fire than you would need above ground to accomplish the same cooking tasks.
Here are some additional hints to make your Dakota Fire Hole easier to build and less likely to be seen: Continue reading
Sometimes preparedness is about seeing the potential alternate uses of everyday items, sometimes preparedness is about keeping the ‘end’ in mind while dealing with the ‘ways’ and the ‘means.’ These were the inspirations for this periodic column on Prepography called… It’s Not This It’s That (INTIT):
Prepography reader BlueShark recently wrote me to ask what an EMP is. What follows is a very brief introduction to EMP and here’s a hint…it’s not the name of the latest rap star to make it big.
Simply put an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an immense charge of electricity created by a nuclear detonation exploding just above the earth’s atmosphere. This electrical pulse will have an effect similar to a lightning strike on all electronics within a line of sight (LOS) that are not specifically shielded from EMP. A single weapon high detonated high enough above the Earth would have LOS to most of the continental U.S. and two weapons launchable from container ships off our shores (Atlantic & Pacific) could easily create an EMP big enough to cover the continental U.S. as well as sizable portions of Canada and Mexico. Think of an EMP as a single event that could send the entire U.S. over a hundred years into our past…no electricity (except batteries), no electronics, no modern communications, possibly (almost) no motorized transportation.
Many survivalists, hunters, preppers and outdoor enthusiasts buy commercial Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE’s). These commercial MRE’s are very similar to the military MRE’s that the Department of Defense (DOD) provides to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for field use (for some reason the DOD doesn’t allow the manufacturers to sell the same meals to the public). In this short article we’ll discuss what an MRE is and an easy way to cut down on the size and weight of MRE’s…or as we call it in the military…how to field strip a MRE.
The MRE has been the primary field ration of our troops since the early 1980′s. It’s a self contained, calorie dense (over 1,200 calories), shelf stable (up to five years under optimal conditions) meal designed to keep you fueled during labor intensive activities. While it’s designed as ‘a’ meal I found that even during the toughest field exercises it was just too much food/calories to be consumed as ‘a’ meal. Depending on the nature of the exercise and work involved I usually carried and ate 1-2 MRE’s per day. I’ll leave the discussion of the culinary ‘delights’ of the MRE for another time but you should know that these meals aren’t just heavy, they’re also bulky.
Note: The MRE is heavy by backpacking food standards not in relation to the MRE’s predecessor the C Ration. Continue reading
Sometimes preparedness is about seeing the potential alternate uses of everyday items, sometimes preparedness is about keeping the ‘end’ in mind while dealing with the ‘ways’ and the ‘means.’ These were the inspirations for a new periodic column here on Prepography called… It’s Not This It’s That (INTIT):
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of waterborne diatoms and algae. DE is mined product…wonder if the job description is “fossil miner?” DE has the consistency of and looks like an off-white version of baby or talcum powder. DE is non-toxic and is sold in both food and non-food grades (see warning below about pool filter DE). While DE is mammal safe (even to eat if food grade) wear a mask while handling it as you wouldn’t want DE to get into your lungs. WARNING: Don’t use DE sold as pool filter media for any other purpose as the silica count is too high and breathing this DE in particular could create health issues).
DE’s primary use is for organic, non-toxic pest control. I discovered DE years ago as a heaven sent solution to keep my wife happy…you see she went back and forth on whether she hated the ants invading our house or the poisons I sprayed to keep the ants out more. The product works by scratching up the exoskeleton of insects so that they dehydrate and die. Here are the Top 10 ways to use (food grade and only food grade) DE:
We all know that there is no element more important to human life than water. Fortunately, most of us enjoy an abundance of extremely cheap, potable water that ‘magically’ flows into our house from ‘elsewhere.’ Unfortunately, the very ease with which we access potable water day-to-day blinds us to our need to store water just in case. Here are just of few of the reasons to store water in your home:
I’ve had several conversations with some of my closest confidants recently that have opened my eyes and eliminated a blind spot in my understanding of (some) other people’s preparedness paradigms…or lack thereof. It seems that some people fear thinking about preparedness. These people avoid the thought or discussion of perils and preparedness topics. Some people go so far as to avoid entertainment that deals with preparedness or the consequences from a lack of preparedness.
You may be chuckling too yourself at my former ignorance, but as a lifelong prepper (in mindset if not always in actuality) I never stopped to consider that someone would willing chose ignorance. I get it now, though. As a business owner I receive phone calls all the time from sales professionals wanting to sell me the next great thing to make my business grow. If they get through my well trained staff they rarely get past the first sentence of their sales pitch before I politely thank them for calling and tell them I’m not interested. At that point I don’t know the details of their pitch but I do know there are only so many hours in the day and I can’t spend them all listening to every telemarketer that calls. The bottom line is that I’m not open to whatever new information and knowledge (with the resulting price tag) that those telemarketers wish to ‘bless’ me with. By choosing ignorance of their ‘pitch’ I don’t have to deal with the potential discomfort of living without a product or service I might need or the discomfort of living without the money that I just spent on that product or service.
My prepper-shy friends are no different than I am with the telemarketer’s sales pitches except that missing this opportunity will potentially affect more than just the bottom line. These friends have expressed to me that the potential discomfort that they are avoiding is fear but they are already operating on a fear of the unknown. These people believe that the study of and actions necessary to become better prepared are attributable to and result from fear. By not entertaining the idea of preparedness they are avoiding living in fear. Unfortunately, this reaction is based on a half-formed thought. Continue reading
Andrew’s Note: Today we return to our crystal ball…or at least the closest thing that the Department of Defense (DOD) has to it…namely the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010. The JOE is the DOD’s keystone document used to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one. Read on to learn what the Department of Defense thinks about our Cyber future, the Cyber Threat and Cybersecurity (highlights are emphasis I added):
The pace of technological change is accelerating exponentially. If the pace of technological advancement continues, greater change will occur over the next twenty years than occurred in the whole of the Twentieth century. The key will be the use to which these technologies are put. In many ways the world of 2030 could appear nearly as strange to us today as the world of 2000 would have to an observer from 1900.
The advances in communication and information technologies will significantly improve the capabilities of the Joint Force. Global information networks enabled by wireless and broadband technologies will link deployed forces to supporting assets at home. Deployed forces will be able routinely to access analysis, research, computation and planning capabilities located outside the theater. Joint forces will conduct globally-ranging cyber warfare, either as independent operations or in support of deployed units, manipulating or overwhelming adversary systems. The creation of virtual models of potential operational areas will allow the Joint Force to train and plan for those environments. Much as flight simulators allow pilots to refine flight skills, immersive training environments could allow future joint forces to practice key operational tasks.
Cyberspace permeates nearly every aspect of societies from personal computers and cell phones to networked transportation and inventory systems. Our society’s very way of life has come to depend fundamentally on the use of cyberspace. In much the same way that we depend on our highways and the oceans, we rely on networks pieced together through the electromagnetic spectrum to conduct business, purchase goods, entertain ourselves, and run our basic utilities. Our ability to maneuver freely in cyberspace amplifies all instruments of national power. In fact, our ability to maneuver in cyberspace is an emerging instrument of power itself.
Many of those same advances also will be available to America’s opponents, who will use them to attack, degrade, and disrupt communications and the flow of information. It is also essential that the Joint Force be capable of functioning in a hostile information environment, so as not to create an Achilles’ heel by becoming too network dependent. Continue reading
Andrew’s Note: Today’s article is on the creating an Intellectual Prepper Paradigm and having the intellectual honesty to face your own blind spots so that you can think clearly and take care of yourself and your family.
At a dinner with my daughters a few years ago I posed a question to them to assess their knowledge of the world, their education and world outlook…I already knew how intelligent they are. The question I asked them is:
Are all cultures equally valid? Continue reading
While I’m kind of partial to Prepography…there are a number of other preparedness related websites out there worth checking out as well. Here are my current Top 10 Favorite Preparedness Websites: