"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, June 23, 2017

PREPPER: 6 Common Misconceptions About Prepping that Mislead Many

PREPPER: 6 Common Misconceptions About Prepping that Mislead Many
Noah and Joseph (Old testament) were preppers.  Prepping is biblical.
The Latest from the prepper world...
Preppers are crazy.  They are a bunch of tin foil hat wearing basement dwellers who live like hermits.  This is what most people think about preppers.
It’s funny just a few years ago it was normal for Americans to have bomb shelters, grow their own food and even carry guns for protection.  Now our society has become so reliant on technology and government that they believe self-reliance is just foolish.  Many people I know live like nothing wrong will ever happen.  They are blind to natural and man-made disasters, wars, economic crisis, etc.
At the same time, there are many people who call themselves preppers who don’t fully understand the idea or movement.  They typically load up on ammunition and build bug out bags so they can proclaim themselves to be preppers.  However, there is much more to prepping than that.
In this post, I want to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about prepping that mislead many.

6 Common Misconceptions about prepping that mislead many

  1. You need to have experience in military, law enforcement or medical professional
There are many preppers that believe in order to be a true prepper you need to have served some sort of stint with the military, law enforcement or medical professional.  For some reason, there is this belief that in order to be the ultimate prepper you need to have these types of experiences.  Those without those experiences are just less of a prepper and will never survive long.
However, preparedness is all about returning to the roots of being self-sufficient and prepared for any type of event that could have some sort of effect.  Yes, the military may teach you a lot of survival and tactical skills that are relevant to preparedness.  That doesn’t mean that you should join the army in order to become a better prepper or to be qualified as one.
Survival and tactical skills are just two aspects of preparedness.  There are other skills that are important and helpful when living a preparedness lifestyle.  Other skills could include agricultural, carpentry, hunting, etc.
There is the belief that only those with tactical skills will survive in a collapse or SHTF scenario.  However, many people in the military have lost their lives fighting in those types of situations.  Therefore, the ultimate prepper needs to be well balanced.
Tactical skills are helpful to have.  Instead of joining the military, you can actually get some training locally.  Most of the time, it is training from former military or law enforcement.
  1. Prepping is all about being tacticool
It’s funny sometimes watching new people get involved in preparedness.  They almost immediately by paracord bracelets, tactical pants, and backpacks.  It’s their first instinct because they have probably seen it on mainstream shows like Doomsday Preppers and hundreds of prepper forums.
In many prepper forums, I see people post tons of pictures about their bug out bags and guns in hopes to increase their credibility.  However, I admire those who live a self-reliant lifestyle in the country more than someone who has tons of backpacks but still reliant upon the grid.
Instead, the prepper should be focused on being the gray man.  Our aim shouldn’t be to draw attention to ourselves.  The last thing you want is your neighbors to know that you are prepper with tons of emergency ready for when SHTF.  I don’t care how nice and pleasant they are.  When SHTF those some nice people become savage assholes.
  1. The most important prep is a bug out bag
Like I said, most prepper newbies immediately begin building their bug out bag because it is the “cool” thing to do.  They fantasize about the day that they would have to bug out because they want to show others how bad ass they are.
Realistically, bugging out should never be Plan A.  There is a lower chance of you surviving if you are forced to bug out instead of bugging in and hunkering down.  Therefore, your preparedness plan should be built around bugging in and hunkering down.  So it is important to determine if and when you should bug out.  Bugging out should be the absolute last option.
Now, unfortunately, a lot of us preppers are not in a position to bug in and hunker down when SHTF.  Some of us would be forced to bug out.  However, while we are still able we should be focused on getting in a position to where we would never have to bug out.
  1. Having a lot of prepper gear and supplies will guarantee survival
Many are following the belief that their gear and supplies are going to determine their survivability.  They feel that the more guns and beans they have the longer they will survive.  Then when they are forced to used their gun they are sadly mistaken because they have no clue how to properly to defend themselves.
What is the point of having an artillery of guns and ammunition if you don’t know how to properly use it?  Many preppers break their banks hoarding these items but never spend a day practicing or getting training.  I guess that having guns and ammunition automatically qualifies you as a bad ass.
What would happen if you lost your gear and supplies?  Would you be able to survive?  Most preppers will not because they have never developed any skills.  Knowledge and skills are the most valuable and lightweight prep to have.  Our skills will increase our survivability.  The gear and supplies just make it more convenient.
  1. Purchasing decisions should be based out of fear
There are many websites and wacko radio hosts who scream and rant about the globalists taken over the world intentionally stirring up fear in hopes that many will purchase their products.  I remember watching one such wacko radio host urging people to buy the products on his show proclaiming that the collapse is coming in a few days.  A few days went by and nothing happened.  Of course, he came up with some lame ass excuse as to why those events didn’t happen.  His unnamed inside source explained to him what was happening….. Never trust someone that always has unnamed inside sources.
That is what I call fear mongering.  It is what the mainstream news does in order to get the American people to follow their government blindly.  Sadly, wolves like these have crept into the preparedness movement.
Purchasing decisions shouldn’t be based out of fear.  In fact, this has caused many to go broke and struggle to survive because they made decisions out of fear.  Your purchasing decisions should be based on your preparedness plan which is built upon a threat assessment and in line with your budget.
You don’t want to be purchasing gear and supplies without a plan.  This will cause you to be partially prepared in many areas.  In my book, The Strategic Prepper, I will be explaining how to prepare the smart way on a budget.  It also gets into how to conduct a threat assessment so that you can prioritize your purchasing decisions.
  1. Preppers are conspiracy theorists
Yes, admittedly there are a few tin foil hat wearers in the preparedness movement.  However, that doesn’t mean that they are wrong.  Many of their concerns are valid….except for those who believe in aliens taking over the Earth or zombies crawling out of graves.
However, most of the concerns that preppers have are realistic.  For example, many of us prepare for man-made and natural disasters.  We see natural disasters occur almost on a monthly basis.  Even the threat of a possible nuclear fallout is very real.  Many people just brush it off as something that will never happen so they can continue to live their soft cushiony life.
Altogether these would be my observations on the most common misconceptions that preppers make.  In my book, The Strategic Prepper, I talk about how preppers can set a more realistic preparedness plan. 

How to Deal with Cabin Fever When Bugging In

The term ‘bug out’ apparently gained popularity during World War 2, the term being inspired by cartoons of bugs scattering underfoot when discovered. As for bugging in, that refers to doing the opposite: staying put. It’s something you might have to do if there’s a natural disaster like a blizzard, tornado, heavy rain or snow. Unfortunately, bugging in for a long period of time comes with a phenomenon commonly known as cabin fever.
Most of us have heard of it, but just what causes cabin fever and what can you do to keep it at bay? Let’s take a closer look…

Defining Cabin Fever

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a strict psychological definition of cabin fever per se,” says psychologist Maxine Chown. She defines the phenomenon as the feeling people get when they are “isolated or confined for a prolonged period of time.” This could happen to you during a natural disaster. What if you were snowed in or had to brace yourself against the storm and wait for rescue?
According to Chown, there are many things that can cause cabin fever, and it is bound to affect everyone differently. “In general, being stuck in a similar routine, place, or position for a prolonged period of time where the experience…becomes stagnant would cause cabin fever-like feelings.”

Symptoms of Cabin Fever

The Meaning of Cabin Fever (1983) looked at the defining factors behind the condition. According to this study, which looked at 35 men and women from Minnesota, some of the most common symptoms reported to researchers during the study were irritability, restlessness, dissatisfaction, and the need to break free from the daily routine.
Other symptoms of cabin fever include:
  • Feelings of hopelessness and depression.
  • Changes in sleep routine (sleeping too much or too little).
  • Changes in diet (cravings or complete appetite loss).
  • Dissatisfaction.
  • Boredom.
  • Irritability.
  • Aggression.
Just how long cabin fever takes to set in varies. It’s different for everyone and is highly dependant on their individual mental states and experiences. For example, cabin fever can be made worse by existing mental conditions like anxiety or clinical depression. Other factors might also have an effect on worsening cabin fever: Are you getting enough nutrition? Are you hydrated enough? Are you getting any exercise?
The symptoms of cabin fever are similar to, but not the same as, Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of clinical depression related to changes in season. In addition to boredom and frustration, you may have feelings of isolation, even when other people are with you. This is why people cooped up together for too long sometimes start turning on each other. If this happens, understand that it’s probably just the cabin fever talking.

An Expert Opinion: When Cabin Fever Hits

“Some relief could be found from cabin fever and its symptoms by a change in physical and mental scenery,” says Chown. “What can be done if people are held up together with no choice would be to do anything that would create spontaneity in routine and bring satisfaction.”
Alleviating cabin fever, says Chown, is down to getting rid of what stirred up the negative feelings to begin with: Dissatisfaction, boredom, or simply feeling trapped. “Do something different that would cause a more free and creative feeling.”
“If people cannot get out in open spaces to see nature, which generally helps, doing ‘fun’ activities–spring cleaning the space around them, doing something new, planning new activities, and revitalizing relationships with each other–could help.”

Tips for Dealing With Cabin Fever

  • Meditation: Learning to quiet your mind with mindfulness meditation is an essential skill, and there’s a very good reason U.S. Army handbooks prepare would-be soldiers for the mental side of isolation as much as the physical side of survival. Take a step out of the situation and breathe.
  • Distraction: Don’t let your mind get the better of you. Instead, keep yourself distracted. Distraction can come in many forms – get up and clean something, grab a notebook and doodle, walk to another room and back five times if that’s what it takes.
  • Occupation: You should keep your mind busy while you’re at it. (There’s nothing wrong with a book of puzzles as part of your bug in kit. Again, mental health is as vital as physical health.) Prepare for this ahead of time and make sure you have resources, however menial, to keep your brain occupied.
  • Discussion: Speak to the people around you: Mistrust can quickly set in when people are holed up together, and that only creates weak links in a group. Just think of how badly that goes in any kind of slasher movie. Discuss past experiences and future plans: This, too, manages to distract.
Cabin fever is a Hollywood staple and the effect isolation has on people has been portrayed in movies like Cabin Fever (2002), Panic Room (2002), The Shining (1980), The Mist (2007) and countless others.

Tooth Abscesses in Austere Settings

Tooth Abscess in Austere Settings
dental extractor
Many readers of our Survival Medicine Handbook are surprised to find entire chapters devoted to the treatment of dental problems. Visitors to our store are likewise surprised to find dental supplies in some of our medical kits. Why is it important for the survival medic to be “dentally” prepared as well as medically prepared?
A standard first aid kit will usually suffice for most short-term disasters. When you’re talking about a long-term survival setting, however, you’ll need a more varied set of supplies. Dental issues probably won’t be of major concern if the power’s out for a few days; if you’re off the grid for a few months or longer, though, dental care will become an important part of your role as survival medic.
The effects of dental disease can be severe, and, at the very least, impacts negatively on work efficiency. Have you ever gone to work with a toothache? It’s fair to say you probably weren’t at 100% efficiency, which is where you need your people to be if you’re off the grid long-term.
tooth abscess

There are many dental problems, but today we’ll talk about a potentially life-threatening one: Tooth abscesses. In long-term survival, problems maintaining good dental hygiene will make tooth abscesses a challenge for every medic.
A tooth abscess is a collection of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection. Pus is comprised of dead and live bacteria, white blood cells, and debris.
Most abscesses are related to tooth decay, poor hygiene, dental trauma, gingivitis (gum infections) or problems related to previous dental work. The abscess can occur in different areas, either at the tip of the root (periapical), or in the gum next to a tooth root (periodontal). Periapical abscesses are more common, although both can occur together.
An abscess first forms when bacteria enter through a defect in enamel, the tooth’s armor; a cavity or a chipped tooth is usually where it begins. The bacteria spread all the way down to the root, causing damage to the nerve, which causes pain. Once the nerve is dead, pain in the tooth might cease, but significant painful swelling, inflammation, and accumulation of pus can develop at the base of the root or in nearby gums, soft tissue, and even bone. Left untreated, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream, causing a life-threatening infection called “septicemia“.
tooth abscess (wiki)
It’s important for the medic to be able to recognize an abscess when it forms. It is commonly seen as a swelling in the tissue at the base of the tooth. It may have a pimple-like head. Other signs and symptoms include:
  • Severe throbbing toothache, sometimes spreading to the jaw or ear
  • Sensitivity of the tooth to hot and cold
  • Sensitivity when biting down on food or gnashing teeth together
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling on the side of the diseased gum/tooth
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or in the neck
  • Foul smelling breath
Without modern diagnostic imaging, it may be difficult to tell the difference between a periapical abscess and a periodontal abscess. There are, however, low tech ways to tell the difference: In periodontal abscesses, the swelling usually comes before the pain; in periapical abscesses, the pain often comes before the swelling.
Tapping on the tooth may also give you a hint: If you tap vertically on the tooth and elicit pain, it’s probably periapical. If you tap laterally and get pain, it’s generally periodontal. If the tooth has no obvious crack or decay, it’s probably periodontal. Sensitivity of the tooth to hot and cold may point to a periapical abscess.
The differences between the types of abscesses matter in modern dentistry: An abscess mainly in the gum, for example, might have a relatively healthy tooth nearby which could be saved via root canal surgery or other modern procedures. In survival, however, this is not an option, so extraction of the tooth to eliminate the pain and infection is likely to be the end result. Extraction will be the answer, in my opinion, for the majority of dental emergencies in grid-down scenarios.
Although drainage usually occurs via the tooth socket after an extraction, an incision with a sterile scalpel may be needed to drain the entirety of the abscess. This procedure is called “incision and drainage“ or “I & D“. Thorough flushing of the area with warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide (called “irrigation“) afterwards is helpful. Give pain meds and apply warm moist compresses.
antibiotics are useful to prevent infection
Although extraction, drainage, and irrigation may be all that’s required, it is prudent to begin a course of antibiotics, especially for those with fevers or facial swelling. Options include penicillin (Fish-Pen), amoxicillin (Fish-Mox), clindamycin (Fish-Cin) and/or metronidazole (Fish-Zole). A course of treatment should last 5-7 days. Dosing for each of the above antibiotics can be found in various articles at doomandbloom.net.
Medical preparedness for long-term events involves having dental supplies and some knowledge of dental anatomy. If you believe a major event is coming, consider a good dental kit to go along with the rest of your medical storage.
Some of the supplies in our dental kit
Joe Alton
Fill those cavities, I mean, holes in your medical storage by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net.

20 Times I’ve Been Glad I Had an Emergency Fund 

While Jeff Bezos and Amazon are ravenously devouring the entire retail world, things aren’t so rosy for the rest of us. Bankrate has released another unsettling survey about the lack of financial security of American families. In this one, they divulged the result that 24% of American families do not have even a single dollar in an emergency fund. Not even a dollar.
And here is the scariest part. This number is an improvement. This is the lowest level of completely savings-less people since Bankrate began doing the survey in 2011.
Going through life without an emergency fund is like getting on a tiny little plane without any parachutes. You hope that the flight will go smoothly, but you want to be ready if a bird flies suddenly flies straight into the engine.
Instead of yet another article about how and why you should have money put back for a rainy day (you can find that kind of article here if you need to get the info on how and why), I wanted to share some real life examples of times that my own emergency fund saved my bacon.

20 times an emergency fund made all the difference for my family

I’d also like to preface this list with the fact that I am not rolling in money. I’ve been a single mom for 14 years, raising two daughters. For a while, I received a small amount of child support, but that abruptly disappeared  7 years ago when my children’s father suddenly passed away. Despite many financial ups and downs, one thing remained constant: I paid my savings first so that I could handle a rainy day. I treated it like a bill so that I would never be truly broke if I could help it at all.
Some of the emergencies of my life won’t ever happen to you but in their place, there will be other emergencies. On the other hand, many of these will probably be relatable because they are just the stuff of life.
Also, it’s important to note that it wasn’t just cold hard cash that saw us through these tough times. The emergency fund was aided and abetted by a stockpile of supplies that I didn’t have to purchase during difficult periods as well as a mindset that allowed me to embrace living very frugally. These two things are just as important as cash in the safe (or bank or mattress – wherever you happen to keep it.)
  1. When I got divorced – Instead of spending every dime while I was married, I had always put a little money back. In my mind, it was a vacation fund. I wanted to take my kids to Disneyworld, but the trip had never emerged. When things became irreconcilable, I wasn’t trapped because I had enough money to find a small, yet suitable place to live in a neighborhood near my children’s father so that we could continue to each spend time with them and co-parent, despite our own issues.
  2. When I was working a minimum wage job – After being a stay-at-home mom who ran a home daycare, I suddenly found myself in a teeny little apartment with no resume. The only job I was able to find for the first while was a minimum wage one. After paying for childcare and rent, there was barely enough money to put food on the table. Still, I clung to the remainder of my emergency fund, doling it out carefully to supplement our small grocery shopping trips and pay for those things that came up at school for the kids.
  3. When I got an opportunity for a better job – You can’t exactly use the same grungy wardrobe that you did in a job planting seedlings in a nursery when you go to work in a sales position selling high-end merchandise. Even though I bought nearly all of my work wardrobe second-hand, it still cost money that wouldn’t have been available on a minimum wage budget.
  4. When my daughter broke her wrist – Even in Canada where most of the medical care is covered, something like this costs money that can strain an already tight budget. There was the trip to a pediatric orthopedist, outrageously expensive parking at the hospital, and a little snack after what was supposed to be two hours turned into an 8-hour affair and our home-packed food had long since been consumed.
  5. When my car broke down when we were out of town – Once when I had taken my kids to a museum about 3 hours from our home (an outing I had budgeted for), our car broke down rather catastrophically. The brake line had rusted through due to the road salt and harsh Canadian winters. There was absolutely no alternative but to get it repaired immediately since you can’t go if you can’t stop. Brake lines are a pretty extensive repair with the potential to snowball far beyond the original quote. As well, we were stranded there overnight while the shop completed the work. This meant we also needed a motel room and some food.
  6. When my daughter had scarlet fever – When my oldest daughter was 11 years old, she contracted scarlet fever, which sounds archaic and horrible, but is actually just strep throat with a rash. However, she was very sick and I ended up having to take two weeks off work to care for her. Two weeks off work = two weeks without pay which = an entire missed paycheck.
  7. When my heater died on Christmas Eve day – You know how things always happen at the worst possible time? Well, one memorable year back in Canada, my furnace suddenly stopped working the day before Christmas. I couldn’t get anyone out there immediately, so we bundled up and celebrated Christmas in one room in our parkas. I had to pay a premium rate to get a person there on the day after Christmas (Boxing Day in Canada is still considered a holiday) but on the 3rd day in the middle of a Canadian winter, you’ll pay just about anything to get some glorious heat. (This was before I was into prepping in any way other than an emergency stockpile. In fact, this was what inspired me to begin thinking about things like secondary heat sources and more general preparedness.)
  8. When my dad got sick – My dad became terminally ill when I was still living in Canada. I took off work and drove back and forth to Memphis several times to help my mom and soak up every moment I could with him. At this point, I was in a better position financially and had several months of expenses put back.
  9. When I got laid off – The automotive industry provides you with one of those “feast or famine” kinds of jobs. When the money is good, it’s astonishingly good, but when there is a downturn, heaven help you if you had spent all of your high commission month’s pay.  I got laid off more than once throughout that career, but between my stockpile, unemployment insurance, and my savings, it was hardly a blip on the radar. When you know (or at least suspect) it could happen, you can calculate your income over the course of a year and see if it’s worth sticking with that job For me, it was. For some of my co-workers who did not have these things to rely on, the instability was devastating.
  10. When my father passed away –  After numerous trips to help out my mom during Dad’s illness, a broken sewer pipe destroyed my basement back home. I had just been temporarily laid off again. Initially, all was well because the insurance company took care of everything.  At the same time, my premiums skyrocketed (at that time, in Canada, there was no legal cap on how much they could raise your rates all at once, and they based the rates on your financial situation. They decided that since I was unemployed, even though I’d never missed a payment, that I was high risk and my premiums were raised to a point that they were higher than my mortgage.) I entered one of the worst financial points in my life. I lost a lot of material thing, including my house and my car. I sold off everything I could to support my family and we made some dramatic lifestyle changes.
  11. When I got downsized, permanently – Something a lot of folks have seen over the past decades is that businesses are hiring younger, less-experienced people who don’t demand a high salary and commission point. When I was offered a buy-out, I knew the handwriting was on the wall. I took the money and added it to my emergency fund and decided that it was time to get into a new line of work. I was only 40, but had hit the peak of what other people were willing to pay me and as the automotive industry continued to careen downhill, so, too, would my career. My emergency fund allowed me to take a year off of working outside the home to start a writing career as long as I moved someplace dirt cheap and lived frugally for that year.
  12. When my oldest daughter went to college – Regardless of my own financial situation, I was adamant that my kids would start life without the college debt that shackles most young people today. Through my daughter’s hard work in earning a scholarship, her tuition was paid. Her summer job paid for her spending money, I paid for her living expenses, and a few dips into the fund paid for her books.
  13. When I moved to the US to take a promotion – The company I did some freelance writing for offered me a raise and promotion if I was willing to relocate. They weren’t offering moving expenses but the opportunity was too good to pass up. Also, I was thrilled since I’d wanted to leave Canada and come back home for a while. Thankfully, my emergency fund allowed me the freedom to make the 3000-mile journey and relocate without too much financial stress.
  14. When I branched out and became completely self-employed – Once my books started bringing in regular income, I was able to leave my job and work strictly for myself. The cushion provided by my emergency fund made the leap a lot less scary.
  15. When the septic system of our rental home went kablooey – Imagine the scene. We got home after being out for the day and our house smelled like a Porta Potty at a music festival on the equator. In revulsion, I walked through the house to the bathroom, where, a few inches of raw sewage were on the floor after overflowing my toilet and bathtub.  We had to grab a hotel room (paid for by the landlord), drive back and forth to care for our livestock (not paid for by the landlord), and eat out (also not paid for by the landlord.)  When we discovered it could take more than a month to get the matter resolved, we had to move ASAP. While we weren’t charged rent and we got back our deposit, moving is still expensive and we had to get our things out of the house before they were ruined by the sewage issue.
  16. When my youngest daughter required emergency dental surgery – We don’t have dental insurance but dental emergencies don’t care about that. Recently, my daughter’s orthodontist spotted an issue with her wisdom teeth that signaled they needed to be extracted immediately. Since no one takes payments anymore, I was fortunate that I was able to pay the $3000 bill. (Her grandparents also kindly contributed some toward the surgery since we had just relocated for her to start vocational college.)
  17. When my dog had a veterinary emergency – Recently my dog managed to rip out his stitches after being neutered, despite his gigantic Cone of Shame. (In a move that was as smart as it was dumb, he pushed the cone against a chair and managed to maneuver it down enough that he could reach his boy parts.) We had to rush him to an emergency vet clinic to stop the bleeding, get new stitches, and treat the developing infection.
  18. When my windshield had to be replaced – A few months ago, I got a stone chip in my windshield repaired and all was well. Unfortunately, due to a super hot day, the stars aligning, or some kind of missile-guided second stone hitting the exact same place, the chip turned into a crack that spread all the way across my windshield in a day. The replacement was less than my insurance deductible, but still quite a chunk of change.
  19. When Kid #2 started secondary education – Having some extra money on hand means I can buy her $500 supply kit for vocational school without any kind of panic. I can also give her a debt-free start in life, just like I did for her sister.
  20. When life just happens – When you look at all of this stuff together, it probably sounds like I have the worst luck on the planet. Not really. Furnaces stop working in the middle of winter. Cars break down when you are far from home. Jobs are lost. Kids get hurt. People die. These aren’t outrageous things that only happen to the rare individual – I’ll bet nearly everyone reading this can relate to some or all of these ordinary mishaps.
For some folks, none of these things would cause financial stress. Maybe they have an excellent, secure job and a year’s worth of savings in the bank. Maybe they inherited a lot of money, just sitting there like the most luxurious velvet cushion. Maybe they are living a charmed life in which bad things simply never occur.
But most of us aren’t living that life. While perhaps we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, we still have to be careful with our money. When something happens that is far outside our normal budget, it’s an emergency. How major or minor that emergency is for you depends on how well you have prepared yourself financially.

Here’s how to build yourself some financial security, regardless of your income.

These steps can help you create a more financially secure life. Each step has a link to more information.


The Three Best Ways to Feed Yourself in a Survival Scenario: Hint – It’s Not By Hunting

PlanandPrepared.com welcomes Ben Ayad to the site. Ben is an IT project manager and founder of a newbie blog called outdoorstime.com. Ben loves outdoors activities and the nature that God has created, as any human being does. He shares what he knows about outdoors and the passion of other outdoors’ lovers who pride themselves in living off the land for extended periods of time in wilderness settings across the US.

Stockpiling food will not do you any good if you are forced away from your home in sudden SHTF situation. So you better have thought of other ways to provide food for you and your party.
Many people assume that in the case of a natural disaster, all-out war or rampant spread of disease that they will just get their gun and automatically turn into good hunters to provide for themselves. For some that is true but for the majority of others it’s not realistic and there are better ways of providing for you and the other survivors in your group.
Why is a not a good idea to assume you can provide for yourself by hunting? First of all it’s not easy even for experienced hunters to consistently bag game. Also, in a SHTF situation the game may become just as scarce as people. Not only that but you will probably not have a limitless supply of ammo for your firearm and you may need it for personal security.
So how do you provide for the sustenance of your group members? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Foraging

One of the quickest ways to gather food in a survival scenario is by foraging. Mother Nature does a nice job of providing you with an abundance of food just about any place you go or get stranded.
Foraging fruits and vegetables may not be as tasty and filling as a big slab of venison cooked up just right but it’s healthy for you and there is plenty of stuff around if you know where to look.
The big problem with foraging is knowing where to look for food. Even when you think it’s not there it usually is. Sure some foods will jump out at you like vegetables that you see growing and fruit’ hanging on trees but a lot of edible stuff is much less obvious. That is why you need to educate yourself in order to survive better in a SHTF scenario.

How to better educate yourself about foraging?

You may not want to put the effort into this but quite frankly the only way you will be able to find the abundance of not so obvious food sources that are out there is to educate yourself. If nothing else, at least take the time to throw a paperback book on identifying food sources into your survival preparedness pack.

Here is an article with an overview of some books that will help you when it comes to foraging for food in a survival situation:
Editors’ note: Here is a great book I have on wild edible plants in North America.

2. Scavenging

I am a big fan of the Walking Dead TV show on AMC. If you have ever watched the show (which is set in a time after a zombie apocalypse) you will notice that they are not out in the woods hunting all the time for food to survive. How do they survive? That is right; by scavenging.
A lot of the food you will need in a survival situation has already been provided for you, this is especially true in an urban situation. Grocery store shelves, residences and even places like gyms and bowling alleys always have food on hand to sell to customers. Some of your scavenging choices will be obvious and other will come from creative thinking.
Whether you are out in the wilderness or in an urban setting there will always be opportunities to scavenge. That is because even in remote areas there are cabins, hotels, isolated farms, ranger stations and other buildings that people will store non-perishable food items in.
Here are a few tips for scavenging in a survival scenario:

Be prepared to defend yourself

This may be straight out of movies but you have to admit that they may have it right. If there is a breakdown of civil order it may come down to every man for himself. Not everyone will be kind and considerate of other like you probably are so be prepared for it.

Scout the areas you will go into beforehand

Don’t ever assume that an area is devoid of other people. Chances are if you survived others will too. You may also run into aggressive groups that are best to be avoided. If you scout a suspicious area for an hour or two ahead of time you will have a much better idea of how safe a place is to scavenge at.

If food gets scarce think outside the box

This is especially true if food gets scarce. You may have to be very creative in your methods of collecting the food you need for survival. Places such as shelters for the homeless and churches that have canned good drives are examples of places that people often overlook when it comes to scavenging for food.

3. Fishing

One thing that the good Lord provides us with is plenty of fish no matter where you are in the world. Over 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water and that means there is a lot of fish out there to be caught. Everything from the smallest ponds to the biggest oceans has fish in them. So in a SHTF scenario you better have a good idea of how to catch fish to survive.
Sure it would be great to have your high tech fishing rod and reel setup with you to catch fish in a survival situation but chances are that’s not going to happen. So what do you do? Here are a few ideas on how to provide yourself with some nutrient rich fish to eat when you are trying to survive.

Hook, line and sinker

You may not have enough room in your survival pack to take a fishing pole with you but don’t despair. You most certainly can find room for some fishing line, hooks and a few sinkers. They will not take up much space and they are ultra-lightweight supplies too.
There are so many ways you can catch fish with just a hook, line and sinker. Bait is easy to find too because many fish are attracted to anything stinky or somewhat edible. Bread, meat scraps and other edibles make good bait. You can also dig for worms or catch small bait fish too.
Don’t just sit there with one line in the water either. Set as many lines in the water as you can. Be creative also and experiment with setting lines in different places to increase your chances of catching fish.

Five Ways To Teach Your Kids Situational Awareness

Kids are naturally observant and often notice things we would not expect them to or want them to notice. They often say what is on their minds and ask questions we would never have thought to ask. You can take advantage of this for their safety.

While kids are young is a perfect time to teach them situational awareness. Teaching them to be aware of their surroundings can stop a potential kidnapping or may help someone else in need. Too many kids have their heads down nowadays whether they are playing on their phones or other devices or they are just not paying attention to anything.

Five Ways To Teach Your Kids Situational Awareness:

1. Play games with them. We would play a lot of "I Spy With My Little Eye Something..." passing the time at restaurants, doctor's offices, and ball games. I would start with the game with picking out a color of something. This game has the benefit of teaching kids to look around and notice things that wouldn't normally notice. I would also make up games like "Name 5 Things That Are (Color)" or Name 3 Things That Start With (Letter)".

2. Leave the electronic devices at home. When you are running errands or taking short trips, leave them at home. Instead of looking down at a device, kids will be looking up and around and probably noticing a lot more than you want them to. However, they are looking up and being aware of what is around them and that is a good thing. If they are walking to a friend's house, school, or the park, teach them to stay off the devices too. They need to be looking up, not down.

3. Teach them to be wary of strangers. I know there has been some debate on this, but the truth is that kids need to wary of anyone who they or you do not know. They need to be taught what to do in those situations also. If they are approached by a stranger and you are near by, they should be yelling for you immediately and running towards you. If they are approached by a stranger alone, they need to keep walking or start running for home or the nearest safe place. You should also teach them some basic self-defense in case they are grabbed.

4. Teach them to look for the good people. They should know to look for the good people or the "helpers". Just like they need to be wary of strangers and people who might harm them, they need to know that they can run to a teacher, police officer, pastor, or fireman for help or to get help.

5. Teach them to be confident. If kids are confident and look like they are in control of themselves and their environment, they will less likely become a target. There is a difference in being cocky versus being confident. You should teach them to look everyone in the eye, be assertive in their body language, and be vocal if someone is bothering them in a displeasing way. When they walk into a room, teach them to enter with confidence, looking around at their surroundings, and taking notice of everyone in the room. This will take practice and encouragement from parents. You should practice this at home as well as away from home. You can ask them questions about what they noticed and what problems could have occurred.