Sunday, January 15, 2017

10 Random Things

In no particular order...

  1. I'm cautiously awaiting the new TV series Hunted.  I hope it offers some useful info and isn't dumb.
  2. I'm really not looking forward to the transition to self driving cars but it looks like it will be happening anyway.
  3. Do you qualify for a class action rebate?  A few weeks ago I received a $50 check from some rebate I applied for months and months ago.
  4. Want a prepper-like activity to do this winter?  Consider taking a CERT course.
  5. The Inauguration is next week.  For some reason it seems like we are in the Twilight Zone.
  6. While I have a nice down sleeping bag, my next stop will probably be to Costco to pick up these two down throws which when sewn together make a nice, lightweight, emergency sleeping bag I can keep in my vehicle.
  7. I'm old.  I still remember going to the circus when I was a kid.  I was saddened to hear that the circus will soon be no more.
  8. Donald Trump + Twitter = disaster.  I'm all for freedom of speech until it is done by a world leader with no sense of restraint.
  9. While I'm not a Luddite, I am heading in that direction.  I already took the Facebook app off of my phone and tablet (and now check FB maybe once every couple of days) and the possibility of me getting something like an Amazon Echo or Google Home is nil.
  10. For those who like to check off travel destination, and if the Traveler's Century Club and Most Traveled People destination lists aren't enough for you, consider the Best Traveled list of 1281 travel destinations.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Your 27 Point Mass Shooter Plan

I was pondering what I should write about as the first post of the new year and then the news flashes came on about a mass shooting in Ft Lauderdale this morning and, well, that's the topic, unfortunately.

As you may have noticed in the last dozen (or many dozens) of mass shootings that have hit the news, there is no way to absolutely prevent getting yourself into a mass shooting event.  Unless you never leave your house and have your home locked down like a military facility (and even that isn't a guarantee) you can't just avoid places that are likely to be a target of a mass shooter because these shootings happen literally everywhere--malls, airport, restaurant, church, schools, nightclubs, etc.

So in the rare but not unheard of possibility that you find yourself in a mass shooter situation, here are 27 points to keep in mind:

Before an event:

  1. Take a first aid class so you know what to do in the event of a medical emergency.
  2. Always--like every single day--play the 'what if' game.  What if there is a shooter right now?  Where are the exits?  Where might the threat be coming from (look up, down, left, right, forward, and behind you)?  Where is the closest cover?  Where is the closest concealment?  What is the pattern of traffic?  What if (pick any random person) is the shooter--can you look at them then remember details about them later?
  3. Keep yourself in good physical shape in case you need to right, fight, hide, duck and cover, etc.  In other words, do all of those physical moves that the average American hasn't done since high school.  Once you can run, jump, hide under a desk, pull yourself up into the false ceiling, etc., practice these moves regularly.  I'm not kidding.
  4. Take some classes.  Take a concealed carry class.  If you can carry and want to carry, do so.  Even better take a tactical shooting course, an escape and evasion course...basically any course that will give you better insight into how to survive a mass shooting or other disaster.
  5. Be prepared.  My EDC bag always has the basics (first aid kit, bottle of water, granola bars, spare mag if permissible depending on where I am, tourniquet, cell charger, etc) and I never go anywhere without it.  In the case of a mass shooter event you may be in holding (or hiding) for hours on end and you want to have everything you need for a good several hours without anything being provided to you from outside sources.
During an Event:
  1. Pay attention to your surroundings.  Was that a gun shot you just heard or a car backfire?  What are people doing?  How are people acting?
  2. If possible, run away from the scene.  In the heat of battle there is no one answer about what to do when the bullets start flying so this is but one option.
  3. If you can't get away, drop and cover or hide yourself.  Again, this may be your best option depending on the situation.
  4. Play dead.  Yet in other mass shooter incidents, people have 'played dead' in order to survive.
  5. If you are carrying a weapon, it is up to you to decide whether to shoot back or not.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
  6. Put your cell phone on silent (you don't want your cell tones to give away your location).
  7. Ensure the safety of your loved ones if possible.
  8. Just because you exited the initial scene, don't let down your guard.  Are there additional shooters?  Explosives?  Other things that are still a threat?
  9. Call 911 to report the incident immediately if it is safe to do so and answer all of the dispatcher's questions as calmly and factually as possible.  After law enforcement is on scene do not call 911 unless you need specific assistance as this ties up the phone lines and others who may need assistance can't get through.
  10. Identify yourself to law enforcement as soon as it is safe to do so (ie: show your hands if you are walking/running towards them, yell for help if you know the shooter has been eliminated and you won't draw the shooter to your position, etc).
  11. Help others if possible (this can be anything from directing people to an exit to shouting orders to get help on the way to providing medical attention to those in need).
  12. Monitor social media.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, etc usually have up-to-the-second info about what is happening.
  13. Pay attention to directions from the authorities (this can be overhead announcements about the situation to signals from law enforcement to stay down or come forward, etc).
  14. Take photos and/or videos of the scene if it is safe to do so.
After an event: 
  1. Stay on scene if asked to do so (and realize it takes A LOT of time to stabilize the scene and commence an investigation so you may be waiting for a while).
  2. Provide as much factual information to authorities as possible including any photos and videos you took.  And be patient, for all they know YOU could be the shooter so it may take a bit for all of the facts to be determined.
  3. If you leave the scene, contact law enforcement with your information for them to follow up with you later.
  4. If there is a shooting at your child's school, don't run into the scene like a maniac as you could be mistaken for the shooter by law enforcement and/or otherwise cause the response to go sideways.
  5. Write down as many details as you can remember, as soon after the incident as possible (and before talking to others about it as that can change what you remember).
  6. Activate your emergency communications plan and let everyone know you are OK (so you won't be getting 50 phone calls from people worried about you).  A blast text message, email, or Facebook message should do the trick.
  7. Do your own "after action" review.  Once you are clear of the incident ask yourself what went right (you chose to run in the correct direction), what went wrong (there was a closer exit you could have used), and what could be improved (you should have had a few additional important items in your EDC bag).
  8. Monitor your mental health and the mental health of your loved ones.  Pure adrenaline will make you feel like Superman...until it wears off.  PTSD after a mass shooting is very common so be aware of how to help yourself and/or seek professional help if needed.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

10 (Huge) Goals for 2017

Need some ideas for your New Year's Resolutions list?  Consider these huge goals which will not only give you something big to aim for but the skills you develop to reach these goals could also save your life.

  1. Be debt free including the house (or make giant strides towards this).  For help and inspiration on this goal check out Dave Ramsey's site.
  2. Run (or walk) a marathon.  When TSHTF and all roads are closed/washed out/etc. and your only option for bugging out is via your own two feet, knowing that you are able to walk long distances is a good thing (plus the daily act of walking or running is pretty good for your overall health).  More info on this topic here.
  3. Participate in an IPSC shooting competition.  This is one of the best ways to practice tactical shooting (well, besides having Uncle Sam breathing over your shoulder about it but I digress...) and an excellent way to sharpen your overall gun handling skills.
  4. Put an extra $1378 in your emergency fund by the end of the year (or more).  The 52-Week Savings Challenge is a good way to do this.
  5. Go backpacking for an entire week.  Can you imagine being totally off the grid for a week?  Can you think of a better way to practice your outdoor survival skills?  A week-long (or longer) backpacking trip is a great way to get away from it all AND practice living without the comforts of modern life.  More info here.
  6. Get all of your documents in order.  Do you have all of your important documents in an easily accessible but secure place?  Are they up-to-date and not expired?  Check out this list and make sure all of your important documents are ready to go at a moment's notice.
  7. Be prepared to earn money.  You might already have a job or a business but should that income source dry up, are you ready to easily transition to a new venture that keeps the money rolling in?  Update your resume, start a side gig, grow your business, network in your industry...basically all of the things you would have needed to be doing before TSHTF and an income crisis happens.
  8. Learn to save a life.  There are a lot of ways to save a life so take your pick, but consider learning/honing some life-saving skills.  Take a CPR class, volunteer to be an EMT, take a wilderness first aid class, volunteer with Search and Rescue, volunteer with the Suicide Hotline, donate bike helmets to kids in your community, etc.
  9. Build your homestead.  You don't need to move to the middle of no where and buy a thousand acres to create a homestead, but where ever you live, make it a place that has all of the comforts of a homestead--a garden, a security system, multiple heating options, etc.
  10. Go after a big 'I never thought I would ever do this' sort of goal.  A Front Sight course, shooting a range of full-auto firearms at Battlefield Vegas, an Evasive Driving course, etc.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

6 Fantastic Deals

It's been busy around here hence the dearth of posts (which should pick up again after the first of the year).  Anyway...

  1. If you are looking for great deals on survival and prepper gear, check out Deal News.  Everyday this site collates all of the best deals on the web into one huge list which makes shopping for great deals a whole lot easier.
  2. Speaking of Deal News, when I was perusing the site a couple days ago, I saw that there was a great deal for the 2017 Canadian National Parks pass--it was FREE!  So of course I ordered one because I do get up to Canada a couple times a year and free is a very good price.
  3. For those of you with Amazon Prime (which I use; free two day shipping and so many movies to download and watch for free sold me on the deal), you can now get a free month of streaming HBO here.  Like I said, free is a very good price.  Just don't forget to cancel at the end of the free trial period or you will end up paying the monthly subscription fee.
  4. If you are giving gift cards for the holidays, check out Raise.  This website offers discounts on gift cards so while you may be giving a $50 card to one of many popular stores and restaurants as a present, you will actually be paying less than $50 for the gift!
  5. Tech Bargains is another site to check out for great deals on tech and other items.  Like Deal News, this site is updated many times each day and you can find some pretty good bargains on survival and prepper items here.
  6. At Overstock you can sometimes find great deals on emergency preparedness supplies (among tons of other things).  Need $3700 worth of stored water?  They have that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10 Ethnic Grocery Items to Add to Your Disaster Food Stockpile

Pick up these items to add to your disaster food stockpile...

  1. Nido (or other full fat dried milk product.  The usual dried milk product you find in most stores is dried non fat milk.  In a disaster you will want the added fat.).
  2. Dried seaweed sheets (usually used for making sushi, the sheets can be torn up and added to soups and stews and are an excellent source of iodine).
  3. Teff flour (often used in Ethiopian breads, this flour is an excellent source of calcium and is gluten free for those with gluten sensitivities).
  4. Dried fish (dried fish products--which include everything from dried squid and anchovies to cuttlefish and herring--are an excellent source of protein).
  5. Powdered soup base (found in the Asian food section, dried miso or dried hon dashi which is a fish stock are a great addition to your powdered soup mixes plus they last a long time in storage).
  6. Dried fruit (expand your selection of "normal" dried fruit--like apples--with dried fruit from the international store which include dried banana chips, dried plums, dried mangoes, dried tamarind, etc).
  7. Seasoning packets (while you are at the international grocery store don't forget to pick up some interesting and unusual seasoning packets to add some flair to your food.  Exotic spices found in the Asian, Indian, Mexican, and European grocery aisle can add distinctive flavor to your run of the mill beans and legumes).
  8. Dried mushrooms (an excellent source of micro nutrients as well as a great way to jazz up soups and stews).
  9. Dried sausage and salami (found in Asian and European markets, dried sausage and salami can be kept for long periods of time at room temperature).
  10. Vitamin B12 (if, whether by choice or circumstance, you end up eating a vegan diet--meaning no animal products at all--you will need to supplement with vitamin B12, the only vitamin that can only be found in animal products).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

101 Preparedness Items from the Dollar Store

For those times when you have more desire to be prepared than actual money, here is a list of items you can pick up at your local Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, or 99 Cent store to see you through a variety of emergencies...

  1. Tarp
  2. Duct tape
  3. Para cord
  4. Matches
  5. Candles
  6. Flashlight
  7. Batteries
  8. AM/FM radio
  9. Aspirin
  10. Tylenol (or other pain reliever)
  11. Bandaids
  12. Antibiotic ointment
  13. Antihistamine tablets
  14. Other first aid items: Ace bandage, medical tape, gauze, etc.
  15. Instant ice packs
  16. Instant hand warmers
  17. Bleach (unscented)
  18. Bar soap
  19. Hygeine items: mirror, comb
  20. Rubbing alcohol
  21. Sharpies
  22. Scissors
  23. Utility knife
  24. Repair items: safety pins, paper clips, nails, wire, etc.
  25. Super Glue
  26. Glow In The Dark Bracelets
  27. Ear plugs
  28. Paper plates
  29. Paper/plastic cups
  30. Napkins
  31. Plastic utensils
  32. Ziploc bags
  33. Plastic food containers (with lids)
  34. Gardening gloves
  35. Toothbrushes
  36. Toothpaste
  37. WD40
  38. Lighters
  39. Whistle
  40. Hand sanitizer
  41. Tissue
  42. Rain poncho
  43. Emergency blanket
  44. Sewing kit
  45. Razors
  46. Magnifying glass
  47. Paper towels
  48. Plastic bucket
  49. Scrub brush
  50. Ammonia
  51. Latex gloves
  52. Steel wool pads
  53. Coffee filters
  54. Safety glasses
  55. Disposable filter masks
  56. Trash bags
  57. Nail clippers
  58. Dental floss
  59. Vitamins
  60. Vaseline
  61. Aluminum foil
  62. Cookware: baking pans, spatula, knife
  63. Can opener
  64. Sheet plastic: plastic table covers, shower curtains, etc.
  65. Latex balloons
  66. Safety flasher
  67. Fluorescent vest
  68. Basic tools (screwdriver, pliers, hammer, saw)
  69. Notebook
  70. Pens
  71. Pencils
  72. Padlock
  73. Bicycle lock
  74. Tool box
  75. Bungee cords
  76. Bandana 
  77. Sun glasses
  78. Laser pointer
  79. Solar yard light
  80. Clotheline/clothes pins
  81. Emergency cell charger
  82. Zipties
  83. Alcohol wipes
  84. Wet wipes
  85. Playing cards
  86. Kid's entertainment (games, puzzles, crayons, etc)
  87. Disinfectant cleaner
  88. Wire coat hangers
  89. Tote bags/daypack
  90. Plastic storage containers
  91. Bug spray
  92. Suntan lotion
  93. Food: spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc)
  94. Food: nuts and dried fruit
  95. Food: candy (chocolate, hard candy)
  96. Food: trail mix, jerky, nutrition bars
  97. Food: instant carbs (oatmeal, instant noodle soup, pasta)
  98. Food: canned goods (soup, spaghetti sauce, canned fish, canned meat, beans)
  99. Food: baking items (yeast, sugar, flour, oil, baking soda, baking powder)
  100. Beverages: tea, coffee, drink mixes, bottled water and juice
  101. Specials that rarely show up but that you should grab when they do: Pedialite, Thera Flu, Sterno
And a few caveats: most dollar store stuff is crap so if you can only afford a $1 knife get one but as soon as possible, upgrade.  Pay attention to sales at other stores as you can sometimes beat dollar store prices on many items (ie: baking soda for 59 cents, 69 cent canned goods, etc).  Pay attention to labels (I've found things at the dollar store that are expired, other things that are mismarked such as an ibuprofen pain reliever marked as aspirin--there's a difference.  And I am pretty particular about buying items, particularly food items, which are made in the US instead of China.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

A special thanks to all who have--or currently are--serving in the US Armed Forces.  It is not an easy life and it is usually a thankless job but our vets are the people who have held this country together over the past couple of centuries and they do an exceptional job (despite all of the political BS but that is another rant).  Hats off to all who have served and thank you for your service!