Online Prep Tools & Resources

We’ve added some new tools to the Prepography Online Prep Tools & Resources Page recently…make sure to check it out.

Four New Online Resources

Listed below are four new online resources that have been added to our Online Preparedness Tools & Resources PageIf you see something, say something…no I’m not talking about the Department of Homeland Security’s anti-terror campaign…I’m talking about if you see a great online preparedness tool…say something to me though my Contact Page so I can include it in the Online Preparedness Tools & Resources Page.

Check out our Online Preparedness Tools and Resources

If it’s been a while since you checked out Prepography‘s list of Online Preparedness Tools and Resources it’s worth checking out.  We’ve added several new tools and links recently.

New Additions to Online Preparedness Tools and Resources

The following online sites have recently been added to Prepography‘s Preparedness Tools and Resources page.  They’re primarily situational awareness resources.  Check out the page for all our Online Preparedness Tools and Resources.  Additionally, feel free to suggest new additions to Online Preparedness Tools and Resources that you think would be of benefit to Prepography‘s subscribers.

  • Radiation Network:  Provides a real-time, geographical representation of environmental radiation levels in the Continental United States (CONUS) overlaid with a map of nuclear sites.  Compare the U.S. map to this map of Radiation in Japan. (more…)

New Links Added to Our Online Preparedness Tools & Resources Library

Today we’re adding 5 new tools to the Prepography Online Preparedness Tools & Resources Library.  Use it in good fortune & health but don’t forget to print off, save to USB or write down what you feel is important in case the internet is down.

Permaculture Game:  Not really a tool, but a game that teaches and illustrates permaculture principles.

PCGS Professional Coin Grading Service:  Many preppers end up with some collector grade precious metal coins in their collection.  Here’s an online tool to help you estimate your coins ‘grade’ both to assess it’s value and if it’s worth sending in for formal evaluation.

Save Us Chuck Woolery:  Entertaining and informative videos from the former talk show host (more…)

Online Preparedness Tools and Resources

While we don’t want to become reliant on high tech and broadband communications there are a number of excellent references and resources available for our use on the web.  Here are some of my favorites and those suggested by Prepography‘s readers:

Cognitive PreparednessCognitive Preparedness:

Communications Preparedness:

Water Preparedness:

Security Preparedness:

Concealed Carry & Firearms Law Research Resources

Ammunition Price Search Tools

  • Ammo Seek:  Ammunition Price Search Engine
  • Gun Deals:  Crowdsourced reference to find which stores/dealers have the best current pricing by caliber/gauge

Firearms & Accessories Purchasing Tools & Sites:

  • Gun Broker:  Firearms sales / Gun auction.  Pick up locally or have mailed through a local Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer

Transportation Preparedness

Mapping Tools:

  • Beacon:  Beacon is a Geospatial Information System (GIS) used by many local governments to track land ownership, fire protection services, ambulance districts, utility rights of way and of course…taxes.  It may be available to you if your local government subscribes.  Use for IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace Neighborhood) and for planning your own Operational Security (OPSEC).
  • Google Maps:  Mapping tool with overhead imagery capability and streetview allows you to do recon without ever leaving your arm chair.
  • Google Earth:  Google Maps on steroids….complete with 3d models of urban areas.  Probably capable of doing line of site studies (if you’ve tried it let me know).
  • Mapquest:  Another great mapping tool with overhead imagery capability
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Historical Topographic Maps:  Useful tool to check out your area of operations as important features such as caves and springs are sometimes left off of later edition maps to make room to depict other features.
  • NOAA Magnetic Declination Calculator:  North isn’t really North so this tool from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration helps you calculate the difference (declination) between Magnetic North and True North.

Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the Elements Preparedness:

Personal Health, Fitness & Medical Preparedness:

  • Prepography‘s Amazon Personal Health, Fitness & Medical Store
  • CitizenReady®:  A standardized, national disaster health education program created by the American Medical Association (AMA) to provide critical medical and mental health information to help individuals protect themselves in a disaster or other serious emergency.  Although the program is designed to be taught in person the lesson plans and materials are available online.

Food Preparedness:

Sustainable Agriculture


Financial Preparedness:

Precious Metals Pricing:

  • Coinflation:  Excellent tool for checking the spot value of precious metals as well as a source of melt value for current and historical coinage for US & Canadian coinage as well as select European Countries
  • PCGS Professional Coin Grading Service:  Many preppers end up with some collector grade precious metal coins in their collection.  Here’s an online tool to help you estimate your coins ‘grade’ both to assess it’s value and if it’s worth sending in for formal evaluation.

Others Tools & Sites:

Government Databases & Reference Sites

Government Surplus Websites:

  • GovDeals:  Lots of fire and police equipment as well as utility company and heavy equipment
  • GSA Auctions:  Sells everything from vehicles to equipment to lighthouses
  • IRS Auctions:  Seized property and real estate of all types
  • Property Room:  More general auctions but they want to be known for their seized items auctions


Andrew’s Note:  Know of a great online tool that we  haven’t listed below?  If so… go to my Contact Page, tell me what the tool does and why you like it.  Make sure and include the link.  If I like it and it’s Self-Reliant or Prepping related you might see it pop up on this page.

Gender Equality Battle Even Feminists Don’t Want To Fight

One of my daughters reminded me recently that even with all the strides women have taken towards gender equality in opportunities and benefits, there’s one gender equality battle that even the most die-hard feminists don’t seem to want to fight and that’s for the obligations of registering for Selective Service, our military draft.

Beside a picture of a woman improperly wearing the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) the Selective Service program offers this explanation:

Women Aren’t Required to Register

Here’s why:


Selective Service law as it’s written now refers specifically to “male persons” in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law.


The constitutionality of excluding women was tested in the courts. A Supreme Court decision in 1981, Rostker v. Goldberg, held that registering only men did not violate the due process clause of the Constitution.


 Following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced, on January 24, 2013, the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members. The service branches continue to move forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service. Ongoing project is still underway.

The Selective Service System, if given the mission and modest additional resources, is capable of registering and drafting women with its existing infrastructure.

While the Selective Service tells us why we don’t require women to register for the draft it doesn’t give us any insight into why this battle for gender equality isn’t being fought.

Even as the Army graduates the first women from the Special Operations capable Ranger Course and the Marines conclude their year long evaluation of posting women to infantry units women have never had more opportunities in the U.S. military services but women have yet to equally share the obligations of registration for Selective Service.  Why do gender equality activist ignore this blatant and obvious form of discrimination…is it because it’s an obligation…and not a benefit?  To me the two should go hand in hand.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Army opening up the Ranger course to women and the Marine Corp’s evaluation of women in infantry units there are a few key points that seem to come out of data, studies and anecdotes coming out of these programs:

  1. Women’s bodies in general have a more difficult time operating under infantry combat load and the female injury rate was significantly higher than the male.  Like it or not gender differences in upper body strength, muscle mass and the ability to carry ridiculously heavy loads for days at a time are a reality.
  2. The failure rate in Ranger School and the unit success rate in the Marine Corps pilot program were significantly higher in multi-gender units. In the Marine Corps program this meant that units were less capable of accomplishing the objective and in the Ranger School classes that had female soldiers there was a significantly higher failure rate among the men than in male only classes (the female failure rate was even higher).
  3. Some women could hack it. It wasn’t a large percentage but there are women capable of operating at that level.

Now I’ll admit that I was raised in an era when we were taught that women were special, people to be prized and catered to.  When I first left the infantry and began serving with female soldiers I had to keep myself from extending courtesies that had been engrained since childhood like opening the door for them and assuming the heavy, dirty and unpleasant tasks that men have historically tried to protect the women in their lives from…I taught myself to treat them like any other soldier, no better, no worse.  Over the years I have served for, with and led a number of female soldiers.  Some were capable, some were not.  Some tried to use their gender, even their ‘feminine wiles’ to shirk their duties while others were hesitant even to take a soldierly helping hand because they didn’t want to be perceived as less capable.

Potential unit and individual performance issues in infantry units aside, women can and do perform almost all military tasks as good as their male counterparts.  With the male military eligible population at an all time low, maybe as low as 25% (age, illness, obesity, criminal history, drug use, & educational requirements) we need women in our ranks now more than ever and even more so should we need to activate a Selective Service Draft.  Why is the gender equality crowd nearly silent on this important national security and gender equality issue?  Why is the Draft the gender equality issue even feminists don’t want to fight?

5 Tips on Bugging Out Into The Woods

If you have spent any time at all in the on-line Prepper community, you have no doubt seen discussion from people who have plans for bugging out into the woods and living off the land in the event of a crisis. These discussions lay out optimistic projections of grabbing a BOB and hoofing it into the woods. There, the authors will hunt and forage in order to survive whatever crisis they are escaping. The reality of bugging out into the woods will most likely be considerably different than those author’s fantasies. We’ve been discussing these wilderness fantasies recently and have come up with 5 tips on bugging out into the woods. Bugging Out Into The Woods

1) Have A Plan, Otherwise You Are Just A Refugee.
Having a vague plan of bugging out “into the woods;” essentially taking an extended camping trip, is not a real plan. We were all raised on movies where the city slicker was dropped unexpectedly into the wilderness and through some difficulties learned to live off the land but there are very few people who have the necessary skills to survive this kind of life long term.  Even Dick Proenneke had a plan that included regular resupply from civilization.  Being part of some mass exodus with no prepared location waiting for you makes you a refugee, no matter how well equipped you are. If you own the property you are bugging out to a plan might include building shelter ahead of time and laying in an extensive collection of prepositioned caches. If you don’t own your property your choices are retreating to public lands with every other mountain-man wannabe or trespassing on other people’s lands.  With resources running thin either situation can get you in legal trouble if there’s still some rule of law or worse.  If your plan includes unnecessary trespass and theft then you aren’t a prepper…and may not even be a survivor…you’re a criminal.

2) Be prepared to be hungry
There are a couple of T.V. shows on currently that show exactly how hard it is to procure adequate food for yourself while in the woods even if you’re a ‘survival expert’ or have one advising you. On both “Fat Guys In The Woods“, and “Naked And Afraid“, after just a couple of days the common thread is extreme hunger.  These types of shows inevitably end up focusing more on human endurance than survival skills because that’s the best you can hope for without a plan…to endure temporarily.  Remember also that these experts have an idea of where they will be filming and have time to prepare for local conditions and study up on seasonally appropriate foraging targets. In a long-term crisis, you can pack in only so much food so eventually, you will run out and have to rely on foraging. Also, you had best be prepared to open your mind to a whole new level of food options; many of them less than palatable and unless foraging for food is a skill that you practice daily you will quickly find yourself in an endurance situation.  How long can you go without adequate food before you get hurt or sick and then things are likely to get worse.

3) Be prepared to be miserable.
Have you ever been on an extended camping/back-packing trip? As enjoyable as it is, remember how good it felt to go home. This is especially true after trips which it rained buckets or was extremely cold or hot. There may be no going home when bugging out into the woods during a long-term crisis. While effective, primitive fire making techniques truly stink in all but the most ideal circumstances. When you are tired, wet, cold, have low morale, and have not been eating well fires are very difficult to get going. Living in a primitive shelter for extended periods isn’t comfortable, either. Shelter building, hygiene, water purification, protection from the elements, bug repellant, fuel collection and every other facet of life is harder in primitive conditions.

4) Be prepared to fight for resources.
If you live near a major population center, be prepared for hundreds, if not thousands of people having the same idea as you. There may be masses of uninformed people heading in to the woods just like you and they will be scared, hungry, desperate and dangerous.  They will be competing for the very same resources that you are.  One of the sad repercussions of the Great Depression was that across the entire country wildlife populations were decimated from over hunting and this wasn’t even a WROL situation.  The deer herd in my state was down to less than 5,000 (est. 2.5M now, with modern management) in the mid 30s.  Think about that for a moment…an entire state’s deer herd hunted to near extinction and the U.S population was 41% of what it is today. You had better be prepared to face people in the woods who are willing to kill to take what they need to survive.

5) Be prepared to die.
Unless you already practice a primitive lifestyle, be prepared to die in your bug out location in the woods and if you are a lone wolf survivalist then be prepared to die alone. Even those well versed in primitive living will face a multitude of dangers in the wilderness and if your bug out location is a ‘wilderness area’ surrounded by sizeable population…heaven help you. Under normal circumstances transitioning rapidly to a primitive lifestyle is difficult…in the midst of a crisis the challenges are likely insurmountable.  In a long-term crisis situation, without the support a modern infrastructure, they can be life threatening. A simple medical condition can turn into a mortal danger. There was a reason why many pioneers died at a reasonably young age.

Bugging Out Into The Woods Conclusion

Don’t take this article as a condemnation of bugging out into the woods. It has its place in any survival plan…but the key word there is PLAN.  Plan ahead to provide yourself the tools, supplies, skills, knowledge and elbowroom you’ll need to survive. We are simply trying to point out that it is not the best course of action, under most circumstances. If you must take that course, make sure that you have exhausted all other options.

Police Codes Infographic

Today’s Police Codes Infographic explains law enforcement communication using 10 Codes, 11 Codes, Code Signals and two alternative phonetic alphabets.  Thanks to for providing the infographic.

Police Codes


Under A Graveyard Sky – A Review

Under A Graveyard SkyWe don’t talk much about zombies here at Prepography… except on Halloween when the zombies come out to play… so when I heard that one of my favorite military writers, John Ringo had tried his hand at the zombie genre I couldn’t help but pick it up with an eye towards a Halloween zombie book review of Under A Graveyard Sky…but then I liked it so much I read the whole series…

John Ringo’s a military veteran and specifically a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division where I spent my first few years in the Army.  From the first time I picked up one of Ringo’s military science fiction books I found myself recognizing the characters and the conversations he wrote because that’s how we thought, talked and related back in ‘Division.’  As he developed his writing craft he expanded his vocabulary to speak the language of other services.  In this latest series, Black Tide Rising John channels his inner Marine…but more about that later.

Islands of Rage & HopeUnder A Graveyard Sky and it’s sequels To Sail a Darkling Sea and Islands of Rage and Hope (Strands of Sorrow is due out early next year) take place in an apocalyptic near future where a bioweapon has been released on the world.  This bioweapon was engineered not only to attack the U.S. but to do so in a way that plays on the terror that we’ve built into the zombie genre.  The zombies aren’t supernatural creatures or the returned dead… they’re victims of an artificially created pandemic designed to bring out the basest and most violent tendencies of the human race.  With the disease’s rapid spread throughout the world there’s no place safe even for those who are lucky enough to have received the morally questionable vaccine.

The story centers around the Smith family.  John, Stacey and their daughters Sophia and Faith are Australian born naturalized citizens and Preppers.  John was an Australian paratrooper who moved to the U.S. and became a history teacher.  Through a series of fortunate events the Smith family is able not just to become vaccinated with an experimental vaccine but also to escape to the only place that John thinks will be safe in this new world…the sea.

To Sail A Darkling SeaEventually the Smith clan comes to realize that they are the only hope for those trapped in compartments aboard the other boats and ships they encounter and begin conducting naval boarding and clearing operations to rescue the uninfected trapped behind bulkheads and secure the resources necessary to supply their ever growing flotilla of survivors.  Once they rescue a group of U.S. Marines the ship clearance ops gets even more interesting as a teenage girl must teach U.S. Marines the proper method of clearing a ship when the enemy’s only weapons are their hands and teeth.

The zombie virus phenomena is well thought out, well explained and well executed.  I didn’t find the characters in this series to be as interesting or relatable as I have come to expect from Ringo and the daughters youth  was very distracting to me (I’m not sending my teenage daughter on ship clearance ops) but the description of shipboard clearance operations was as fascinating as it was creepy.  I received some training years ago in building clearance operations and can only imagine how much more nerve racking it would be to clear compartments on ships and boats where there’s no light, no where for opponents to slip away (not that zombies try) and the use of my favorite clearance weapon, the grenade is as much of a danger to you as it is to your opponent.  I have renewed respect for Marines and Coasties!

“What happens in the compartment stays in the compartment.” My favorite line from the Black Tide Rising Series

Strands of SorrowThis is the thinking reader’s zombie series…if Robert A. Heinlein had written a zombie story, this would be it. and the first two books reminded me especially of a Heinlein tale because the same elements are there…a family forced into extraordinary circumstances, military discipline layered over family dynamics and the struggle for resources.

All in all this is a great read whether you’re a zombie genre fan or not…I can’t wait for the next installment to be published.

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