Notes for Friday – December 19, 2014

Book Bomb Day is December 30, 2014: Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own

Now available for pre-ordering at Amazon.com, but I’d prefer that you wait for December 30th to order: Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own. This book is a guide to the selection, use, and care of tools. It will also be available as an e-book and audiobook. -JWR

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December 19th is the birthday of physicist Albert A. Michelson (born 1852, died May 9, 1931), who was the first American to be awarded a Nobel Prize in science, for measuring the speed of light.

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Ready Made Resources is offering four extra cases of Mountain House with the purchase of their Premier Gold Package of Mountain House Foods, in addition to the standard package. That’s two cases of Rice and Chicken and two cases of Lasagna– a $636 value. That is in addition to the five cases of Yoders meats, one case of Red Feather butter, one case of bega cheese, and 18 yahoo canned cakes. Overall, that is a $5390 for only $3895.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208,
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

What Haven’t I Thought Of For Nuclear Survival?, by D.K.

It’s easy to prepare for a specific disaster and then forget about it. Whether it’s an economic collapse, power grid failure, or nuclear attack, gathering supplies just isn’t enough. There are a spiderweb of choices to be made after each event, and this article will focus on options you may not have thought of yet, if a nuclear strike were to happen. Aside from knowing the foundations to nuclear survival, there are other important topics, such as owning protective suits, location decisions, and community goals. As with most survival situations, nuclear survival is a system of Q/A– questions and action. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself:

  • Should I get disposable or non-disposable radiation protection suits?
  • How many suits do I need?
  • Do I stay where I’m at, or do I leave during a disaster?
  • What am I going to do with waste if the plumbing doesn’t work?
  • Who in my community can I truly count on?
  • Why is bugging-out not always the best option?

Before diving into specific scenarios and trying to figure out everything you need, it’s important to know the basics of nuclear survival. There are endless calculations that go into a nuclear explosion, but there are three basic parts to recap:

  • The Blast: This includes size, burn effects, and the area is immediately affected
  • The Shock: This includes EMP, wind/shockwave, and social structure damage
  • The Fallout: The radiation-emitting dust that travel all over the place

***To give you a better idea of how a nuclear bomb would affect your area, you can use Alex Wellerstein’s NUKEMAP.***

Plan

Another foundation to nuclear survival is having a plan but not just any plan– a very specific plan. It’s easy to say, “We’ll just go to the desert or forest and bug out”, but how is that going to be executed? What are the specific steps of action you would have to take to get there?

Survival, in a nuclear conflict, should never be approached with a mind focused on the short term. Knowing what you are going to do after everything you’ve planned for has happened is important. For example, if my family and I make it out to the forest to our super secret bug-out spot and survive for a month or two, then what? What happens when the food runs out, ammo runs out, or fallout is carried to our position via atmospheric travel. Not all of us have a nuclear bunker to run to, but even if we did would we be able to survive the psychological pressures of living underground for so long? These are all things to consider.

The last foundation for nuclear survival is having a backup for everything, just like you would on your computer. If one of your suits gets torn or the road you picked is blocked, having a backup can save you from a lethal situation. Some people even like to have backups for their backups, and that is not such a bad idea!

Suits

Deciding what type of radiation protection suit to get for your nuclear survival kit is one of the most important steps towards preparedness. Should I get disposable or non-disposable suits? The important word there is “suits” (in the plural tense), as every person should have at least two of any kind of suit.

Another point to consider, when buying a suit, is how will I eat, drink, and go to the bathroom during extended periods of time within the suit? Even with a good mask that allows you to eat/drink, how can you do that without exposing the edibles. The real answer depends on the scenario and what you are up against. If it’s just alpha and beta-emitting fallout, then a basic suit will suffice and eating, drinking, and relieving yourself could be done under thick cover. If it is significant gamma radiation, then advanced suits and complete decontamination are the only way to complete very short-duration tasks outside of your fallout shelter in relative safety, and not bring hazardous emitters back into your shelter. [ JWR Adds: NO suit will protect you from gamma radiation. If a suit could protect you, then it would be too heavy to move. Read: Many hundreds or even thousands of pounds. The only reliable protection is a proper fallout shelter with multiple halving thicknesses of soil or concrete.] Some protection is better than no protection in any scenario, and knowing how to use the gear you’ve purchased is vital.

Have I practiced breathing and working in my mask? How long do my filters last? Do I have enough? Taking the time to practice using and fully assessing the items we have can prevent a load of problems created by panic during a disaster.

Stay Put or Bug Out?

Do I stay where I’m at or leave during a disaster? This is one of the biggest choices to be made, and the answer varies widely depending on your current location. Here are a few things to consider when making the choice to hunker down or high-tail it:

City (assuming it hasn’t been hit directly)

This will be the toughest area to make a choice, but at one point or another a decision to leave must be made. As we know, traffic will be at a standstill, panic will set in quickly, looters will take advantage of the chaos, and police will have hard time controlling anything. This is one scenario where staying put may be the best idea in the short term. This will give the city time to quiet down after the initial shock and potentially clear out some roads. Staying for too long could be a very bad choice, because over time gangs will form and looters will move from commercial stores to residential areas. Supplies are the driving force behind survival in a nuclear disaster, and cities are going to run out the fastest. For those living in the city, having a remote location to get to is the best goal. Here are the pros and cons of being in a city during this type of disaster:

City Pros:

  • They will be the first places where order is established, if the government still remains
  • Ethnic, religious, and family groups will band together faster
  • Cities will be targeted first for supplies and recovery, if order can be created again

City Cons:

  • There is not a strong sense of community
  • High population meaning more looters, chaos, and congestion
  • Pre-established gangs can quickly take advantage of the situation

City Final Thoughts:

  • Plan to leave 1-3 weeks after an attack, when streets are clear
  • Have many pre-planned routes out of the city to avoid major roads and highways
  • Community is extremely important here, so band together with neighbors
  • Have a destination goal with supplies pre-planted for your mid- to long-term survival

Suburb

The suburbs are where most of us will be during a nuclear strike, and it’s better than being in the city. Supplies will dwindle slower, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great choice to stay for long. Once a city is ravaged, the suburbs will be the next staging area for crime, wanderers, and the search for supplies. Here are some points to consider about a suburb after a nuclear attack:

Suburb Pros:

  • Less congestion, which means more mobility and time to react
  • There are established communities
  • It won’t be the first priority for looting, until cities are empty

Suburb Cons:

  • Generally located very close to cities
  • Long-term survival is not an option here, due to lack of supplies
  • Infrastructure will not be repaired until the nearby cities are under control

Suburb Final Thoughts:

  • Leave immediately or when supplies get low, but don’t stay for more than 2 months
  • Will you be able to handle neighbors requesting supplies and help?
  • A weapon is essential for survival in an area longer than a couple weeks

Rural Town

This is where everyone wants to be during a disaster, and in the end most people will end up here. Once cities and suburbs have run their course, people will move further away and into rural areas. Even though these small towns are great for short- to mid-term survival, it’s got a share of problems, too. Here are some pros and cons when considering a rural town during a disaster:

Rural Town Pros:

  • Less likely to be targeted, due to there not being a large population or military bases
  • Lots of reaction time and preparation for mid- to long-term survival
  • Community can quickly come together from it’s established social connections

Rural Town Cons:

  • Will be the last place to receive aid from outside sources
  • Will attract gangs or looters who can outnumber or outgun a small town
  • Must be self-sustaining or it will quickly disperse and collapse on itself

Rural Town Final Thoughts:

  • This could be a great place to stay long term, as long as the community is strong
  • Community defense and supplies are crucial to maintaining infrastructure
  • Taking in wanderers and/or turning them away will be an important town decision

Your Community

Lastly, one of the most crucial things to consider when planning for a nuclear strike is what type of community you will be a part of. Will you be a lone ranger? Will you have a small group (3-25 people)? Or will you even be a part of a town’s group (25+ people)? Each has a list of pros and cons that must be weighed, while also recognizing that a person’s community is greatly affected by their location.

Going Solo

Going Solo Pros:

  • Only responsible for yourself
  • Easier to remain hidden
  • Moving locations is quicker and easier
  • Decisions can be made much faster

Going Solo Cons:

  • An easy target, if found by any bad group
  • Doing things with one person is harder than doing it with five
  • It’s proven to be a mental and psychological challenge

Small Group

Small Group Pros:

  • Bonds and trust are held together better than in a large group
  • Defense and concealment from other groups is possible
  • Jobs can be diversified
  • There is a larger skill pallet

Small Group Cons:

  • Can quickly be snuffed out by a larger group
  • Will have a hard time making decisions, if someone isn’t the “final say”
  • If someone gets sick or hurt, it will affect the entire group much more than a larger one

Large Group

Large Group Pros:

  • An even bigger skill pool to work with
  • Can split to cover more area and create a formidable defense
  • Will be the first to establish long-term survival communities

Large Group Cons:

  • Making group decisions is not an easy process, unless everyone’s goals are aligned
  • “Compromise” is a word everyone in a larger group must know well
  • It’s much more susceptible to conflict, which can lead to the collapse of a community

Every person is a part of a community in one way or another and when something like a nuclear attack happens, it will either strengthen the community or erase it completely, due to dispersement. Planning and communicating with your community beforehand about what actions will be taken after a disaster is extremely important. Obviously, this is not possible 100% of the time, because not everyone has a community of like-minded people. In this case, it might be best to go solo during a disaster, in an attempt to join a small/large group by providing value.

This guide is not meant to be an all-inclusive step-by-step handbook to any survival situation, but rather it’s here to spark ideas and put people in the right mindset when thinking of preparedness. Asking a question like “where are we going to put the waste” is important, because it’s not something we would normally think about. Having a long term and specific approach to nuclear preparedness will increase chances of survival and put you 1,000 steps ahead of the average person. Asking the right questions and taking the appropriate actions are essential to nuclear survival. Take the time to sit down and evaluate your plan, while going through every possible scenario to not only give you a physical preparedness advantage but also a mental one.

Letter Re: Prepper Armor

Hugh,

Just a few thoughts on the article about body armor.

“The idea that you’re going to be wearing full-on body armor 24/7 during an SHTF situation is fantasy land.”

That’s me, as accurately as I can remember, on a Facebook prepper group page.

Yes, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t think body armor should be a high priority item. Certainly it shouldn’t be one before you have more basic preps squared away.

Why is that? Well, having spent a decent portion of my life wearing the stuff, I know just how inconvenient it is. So, here are some thoughts on the recent article about “prepper armor.”

(NOTE: In the interests of clarity, I have worn the Interceptor armor with full plates–front, back, and side, as well as the relatively “new” body armor with the cummerbund and full plates. I have not worn many of the police-oriented models and never worn or owned any soft body armor. Your mileage may vary.)

  1. The armor combination the author suggests for someone “in fairly good shape” is pretty bulky. A IIIA vest with plates, the codpiece (groin protector), and batwings (upper arm protection) is a lot of stuff to wear. It makes movement difficult, and it makes carrying anything around difficult, especially if you’re wearing a pack or anything like it. If you’re planning on being foot mobile (or even if you aren’t), you’re not going to be moving fast at all. Take a look at the movies Restrepo and Korengal and see how the troops there equipped themselves. This armor combination is really only appropriate if you’re doing vehicle-based patrols in a high-threat environment, like Fallujah.
  2. Try wearing that stuff and getting into a vehicle. Better yet, get into a vehicle designed to carry troops wearing that stuff without putting any of it on. You’ll notice you have LOTS of room. Now, imagine getting into whatever vehicle you’re using to bug out wearing that stuff. Can you reach all of the controls? Can you see out of the windows? Can you move your head and body effectively to see out of the windows? I’m not confident I could put on my armor from Afghanistan and fit into my truck and drive effectively if I had to react to a dangerous situation–or even change lanes during rush hour.
  3. Most people see body armor as their way of carrying their stuff. There are tons of pouches and other bits you can mount to the PALS panels. RESIST THAT URGE. What happens when you have to squeeze into a spot and you have to drop your armor to do it? You’ve lost your primary means of carrying that stuff. When I rolled in Afghanistan, I used a chest rig hooked to clips I mounted onto the armor with zip ties. If I had to dump the vest, I could unhook the rig quickly and keep my main ammo supply (plus my radio, binos, pistol ammo, flashlight, et cetera). Also remember, you’re carrying that ammo and other stuff on top of a 30-ish pound vest.
  4. So, say you’re not going to wear it all the time. Now you have to have a place to store it, and it’s something to remember to grab and make a place for if you should have to bug out. Were you going to keep it in your daily commuter car all the time? I think that qualifies as a bad idea ™.

Look, I’m not saying body armor is a terrible idea, but keep some perspective when you think about adding it to your preps. You’re not going to be assaulting an ISIS stronghold or running patrols in Afghanistan any time soon after SHTF. At best, you’ll need it to check out a noise during a watch period or to fend off an assault on your homestead. Think about how you’re likely to react and design this prep appropriately.

The idea that you’ll be wearing it 24/7, or even during large portions of the day, really is fantasy land. Keep that in mind. Body armor should probably be one of the last things you pick up, unless your threat assessment dictates otherwise.

And, if that’s truly the case, maybe that money would be better used to relocate you and your family NOW, rather than after SHTF. – K.C. “Frag”, Maj, US Air Force (Ret)

Economics and Investing:

U.S. Declares (Currency) War On Russia

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Swiss Central Bank to Introduce Negative Interest Rates – G.G.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Price of Gold in Russian Rubles – Just thought I would share this chart… Notice how fast things happen when they really make a move. Wouldn’t suspect it to be any different.

A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia

Minimum Wage, Maximum Unemployment – This is for South Africa, but the economic principle is universal.

Odds ‘n Sods:

The mass media was quick to report that the Islamic hostage-taker in Australia was a licensed gun owner. However, there was one small problem with that convenient narrative: It wasn’t true. (Thanks to Tam at the View From The Porch blog for the link.)

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How to make a shoe : Headley, Jno. P. – P.M.

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More shots fired at BPA transmission lines Note that this is WEST of The American Redoubt, on the west side of the Cascade mountain range.

- P.S.

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German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls. – The Washington Post- P.M.

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An interview with JWR on Radical Personal Finance: Geo-Arbitrage and Expatriation for a Better Life

Notes for Thursday – December 18, 2014

December 18th is the birthday of Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788). He wrote more that 1,700 hymns. Today is also the birthday of Jørgen Haagen Schmith (born December 18, 1910, died October 15, 1944). He was better known under the codename Citron and was a famous Danish resistance fighter in occupied Denmark. His biographical sketch at Wikipedia describes his death, after he was tracked down by the Nazis: “German soldiers arrived at the house to arrest or kill Schmith. He fought for hours against an overwhelming force of enemy troops killing 11 and wounded scores of others before the house was set on fire and he was shot attempting to escape the flames.” His exploits were dramatized in the movie Flame and Citron.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208,
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Case For Being A Prepper, by Quilliam Franklin

My goal in writing this article is to explain my thoughts and reasoning behind my choice to become a Prepper. I believe that being more prepared is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. However, sometimes Preppers can be seen as strange, eccentric, or even crazy. My hope is that as you read my thoughts in this essay you will get ideas that can help you have good heartfelt conversations with your loved ones. Ultimately, I hope you will realize what I did; preparing for the uncertainties in this world is anything but crazy.

As I was reading and pondering reasons why I should be more prepared, I started to categorize everything into two different groups– multipliers and uncertainties. Multipliers are variables that make any type of disaster worse off, while uncertainties are bad situations that could possibly happen but might not. Let me share with you some of these multiplies and uncertainties that are the most concerning to me.

Multipliers

Just-in-time Delivery

First, I want to talk about just-in-time delivery. Just-in-time deliver means, that when you go to the store and buy an item, it will register that the store is short of that item. The computer systems will automatically place an order, and when the next truck goes out to that store, it will now include that extra item on board. This is a practice that saves a lot of money for almost every type of business (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies, manufacturers, and others), because now the in-store inventory is very low. However, because the in-store inventory is very low, if there is ever a reason that we can’t use our nation’s transportation system (mostly roads) the stores would run out of inventory even quicker.

A small localized example would be to look at what happened after hurricane Katrina when many of the roads were inoperable. Many grocery store shelves were completely stripped bare and people were hoarding gas to run their generators. From what I read and saw on the news, it was a tense situation, but this disaster was a localized event with a light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, our entire nation poured in supplies to help out. Now, imagine an equally devastating disaster on a larger scale without supplies being flown in. Just-in-time deliver would cause stores to run out of inventory even quicker than they would have before. Just-in-time inventory is not bad; it saves a lot of money and makes a lot of business sense, but it can easily make a fragile situation go from bad to worse.

Not Your Grandpa’s Generation Anymore

I don’t know how else to say it. We, as a people, are not the same as our grandparents’ generation. We don’t have the same skills and mindset as they used to. They worked in every aspect of their lives; they gardened, cooked from scratch, and mended what broke. They had relationships with their neighbors. They bartered, and they didn’t feel entitled to anything they didn’t work for.

I am not going to drag this topic out, but I think we can all agree that our country as a whole could not handle a disaster situation anywhere near as well as our grandparents could. How many people today would be willing to eat chicken feet soup and possum for dinner?

Made in China

It is not a secret that very few things are made completely in the USA anymore. If there is ever a disruption in the international/domestic shipping and transportation, for any reason, it would pretty much stop all production and disrupt most of what we could buy at the stores. This is just one more thing that could make a certain disaster scenario much worse.

Uncertainties

About a year in a half ago I was at an event where Paul Ryan (Wisconsin, Republican, House of Representatives) was speaking. He talked about some point in the future when America wouldn’t even be able to afford the interest payments on our debt, if we didn’t start curbing our spending. After this event, I started to think about what he said, which led me to do more research on the national budget and debt. From what I read, Paul Ryan had one of the most conservative budget plans that had a chance of passing at that time, but even his plan didn’t stop us from going into debt further. His plan only slowed the pace at which we went into debt. This was an eye-opening experience for me. It made me realize that there could be a financial disaster in the future that no one was talking about (you can’t borrow money indefinitely). And if no one was talking about this then, what else was I missing? After much research, I came up with a list of some of the biggest concerns or uncertainties I have about our future.

National Debt

My share of the national debt is $56,194.16 (as of 11/11/2014). That means an average family of four, like mine, has a share of debt well over $200,000.

The U.S. currently has close to 18 trillion dollars in debt. Our yearly budgets have recently run about 1/3 off of borrowed money, and we have added over $7 trillion to our national debt since 2008. As we continue to borrow money, the interest on our payments is going to get higher and higher, and at some point we won’t even be able to afford the interest on our payments without drastically altering the budget. In addition, we are not even trying to pay towards the principle of our debt. Very few politicians are even trying to make cuts to the budget, because doing so would take funding from areas that their constituents support. Like I mentioned above, one of the most conservative budgets that had a chance of passing (although a small chance) doesn’t even stop borrowing money, it just borrows a little bit slower than other budget plans.

In short, it is like our nation is driving straight towards a cliff, and all we are doing about it is arguing about how fast we should be driving towards the edge rather than trying to change directions. At some point when we can’t afford to pay interest on our debt payments, we won’t be able to borrow additional money, but we will still have the debt that we owe. At some point it is going to get ugly, because you can’t borrow money forever and not pay it back (well, at least not without consequences). I fear we will be left holding the debt, have our budget cut in third, plus continually have to pay more of our budget towards the principal.

There are people who predict that at this point there will be a collapse of our nation’s currency, and although that is a possibility, I hope it won’t get that bad. Whatever does happen, it will be a difficult and trying time for our country. To try to get out of this mess there will have to be high inflation, increased taxes, and deep budgets cuts. Think of what happened recently in Greece; their entire system was at the point of collapsing, but they were finally saved by a bailout from the EU. We have more debt than the next three countries combined, so if our system fails there will be no one to bail us out.

Let me finish this section quoting Margaret Thatcher, who said this about socialist countries (and if the U.S. isn’t one yet, we are pretty close): “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” You can’t say it better than that. In the end our debt in going to catch up to us, and it is not going to be pretty.

Food Stamps

It has been reported recently that 20% of households in America are now on food stamps. That number has continued to grow every year. That means that one fifth of America is directly dependent on the government for at least part, if not all, of their food budget. (This excludes people who actually get a salary from working for the government.) What would happen if there was ever an interruption, inflation, or a cutback in how much the government is able to hand out?

We need to ask what it means for our country to have a low jobless rate but still have 20% of households of food stamps. What underlying problems are there that make it so many Americans can’t even afford their own food? Perhaps, most importantly, what does it mean for our country when so many people feel it is the responsibility of the government to feed them?

The overall point I want to make about food stamps is that there are a lot of people using them for food on a daily basis and that number keeps on growing. If for any reason there was ever a problem of any kind that caused a reduction in food stamps, you would have massive riots, looting, stealing, and possibly worse. It is best to be prepared.

Social Security (What’s So Secure?)

So let me explain Social Security the way I understand it. Each year the money is collected from people paying into the system (generally through payroll taxes). In years past, when more money was put into the system than was needed to pay out, the government created and added that money to a special fund– the Social Security Trust Fund. Any extra money was put in there. The government would then essentially write an IOU (technically government bonds, but these bonds are not tied to any real assets) to the Social Security Trust Fund and then use that money in other places. Now we are to the point where we are not saving up extra money each year; in fact, we need more money that we are bringing in. So, we pull money from the Social Security Trust Fund. With the current laws, we are not projected to have a surplus of money any time soon. At the current rate of withdrawal and with very positive estimates from government, the Social Security Trust Fund will run dry in 2033. At that point, the entire program would have to reduce benefits to all the Social Security participants so that money coming in and money going out match. It is currently estimated that the government would have to reduce the benefits to everyone by about 25%, to break even.

I am sure my explanation is simple and misses some of the nuances of Social Security, but it does highlight a major problem– Social Security is going to run into some major pain points within the next 20 years.

Before ending this section on Social Security, I want to make two more points that add to the uncertainties around social security:

  1. There is only 2.9 people paying in to every one person paying out, and that ratio is getting smaller every year. At what point does it fall apart? How much of your paycheck is the government willing to take from you?
  2. The process of temporarily fixing and patching Social Security could potentially cause a lot of pain. If for any reason Social Security checks stopped coming, even for a short period of time, there would be massive backlash from the people. (There are over 54 million people receiving Social Security benefits right now.)

There are going to have to be some tough decisions made around Social Security, over and over again. If each temporary fix doesn’t go perfectly smooth, it will cause massive unrest across this country. Ultimately, I am afraid the system is going to fall apart. I am in my 30s, and I don’t expect to ever see one penny paid back to me from Social Security. Be prepared, because there are too many uncertainties to count on Social Security being there for you.

Ebola in Dallas

So I live in the DFW area, and when I first heard that there was a case of Ebola in Dallas I was a little bit annoyed but not overly concerned. I then found out that a nurse from my church congregation works at the same hospital as the person with Ebola. This made me stop and think if I should be nervous. Lastly, I learned that the nurse has kids that were in the same class at church that my kids were in, and I got even a little bit more nervous. Then, additionally two more nurses caught Ebola; my nerves continued to climb.

Luckily, it wasn’t a huge issue, and Dallas eventually became Ebola free, but that disease highlighted just how quickly people are going to panic in situations like that. In this case, the presence of one patient caused the emergency room at that hospital to shut down and some nurses stopped showing up to work. Imagine what would have happened if there were 200 or 2,000 cases around Dallas all at once. Would the hospitals be able to handle it?

I believe that there could be a disease that is worse than Ebola, one day. Especially when there are doctors and scientists publishing exactly how to create one. We should be prepared, at least the best we can, to handle a situation like that. This is just one more of those uncertainties that makes me want to be a Prepper.

My Responsibility

In the end, I feel that it is my responsibility to take care of my family. I hope and pray for continued peace and prosperity. My hope is that I never need the skills and supplies that go along with being a Prepper, but it would be naïve of me to ignore and do nothing to prepare for some of the uncertainties that I have listed in this article (and ones I did not list). Let me share some of my worst fears with you that really drove me all the way into being a Prepper. The first is that all or part of my family is killed (or worse) during a disaster scenario. The second thing that scares me is what I might be willing to do for my family.

Here is a hypothetical situation I thought of at the very beginning of my Prepper journey. Imagine I am the normal suburban guy who loves his family but is not very prepared for a disaster. Then, some sort of disaster strikes. Imagine my family and I start to go hungry. I am generally a good, Christian guy, and I tried to find food for my family in a fair way, but since food is scarce for everyone I do not have enough to get by for me and my family. Would I be willing to look my wife and kids in the eye and tell them that they have to starve because I did not prepare when I had the chance? Would I be willing to turn to robbery, or to murder, to stop my family from dying of starvation? What if this also meant ruining my own chance of salvation? Honestly, in this hypothetical situation, I am not sure what I would do. My gut tells me that I would do almost anything before I let my family die.

This scenario made me realize that if a good, Christian person would be willing to do extreme things to help his/her family, what would others with less moral convictions be willing to do? I decided that I should prepare now, while I have the chance, so that this hypothetical situation would never have the possibility of being acted out.

Conclusion

There are two reason I wrote this article. First, I wrote it to encourage the Preppers to continue on their journey. Prepping is not strange, eccentric, or crazy, and if there is ever a disaster scenario you will thank your lucky stars you prepared. Plus, knowing you are more prepared than most should allow you to rest a little easier at night. The second reason is so you can share this article with the non-prepper people in your life. Maybe this will shed a new light on why you do what you do and the non-prepper will realize that you prepare because you care about them.

In conclusion, no one thinks you’re strange if you get a life insurance policy, even though you have a small chance of actually dying. The same should be true about prepping. There is a small chance (I hope) that any of these scenarios will turn into a full blown disaster, but there is still a chance. It is normalcy bias that tells us that just because something like this hasn’t happened before means it won’t happen in the future. We should take advantage and take action now and prepare. We need to pay the dues to our disaster insurance so that we can be prepared to take care of ourselves and our family, if there is ever a disaster scenario.

Letter Re: Prepper Armor

Dear Hugh,

The recent article, “Prepper Armor,” by J.J. was good but needs clarification. It seems a lot of faith is put in the statement that Level III armor “stops 5.56mm,” but this needs to be explained further.

We have two basic 5.56 x 45mm rounds– the 62 grain SS109/M855 and the 55 grain M193. The former travels at 2,970fps when fired from a M4 16 inch barrel, while the latter is 3,200 fps at the muzzle.

Most body armor retailers distinguish the “stopping power” of their product between these two rounds by categorically stating the SS109/M855 WILL be stopped.

But, that’s not the whole story; many expressly deny their products will stop the M193, because of its greater projectile velocity.

So, a blanket statement like: “stops 5.56mm” may only be half-true and that ain’t good enough if your adversary or the “bad guys” against you have M193 in their magazines. “Half-alive” after being shot by a M193 while wearing body armor is not acceptable.

Not being an expert, I am to understand that once 5.56mm rounds exceed 3,000 fps at the muzzle, they WILL penetrate body armor rated less than Level IV. So M193 ammo seems to be an issue.

I have seen actual non-scientific tests (at 25-50 m) on YouTube where some Level III rated armor stops M193, while others do not; it’s very confusing.

Can someone knowledgeable in the M193 vs Level III armor take me up on this and give us lay people some clarity? Thanks! – K.W.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Footwear of the Middle Ages. – P.M.

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An interesting talk on the search for a “Survival home”: The perfect post-apocalyptic bolt-hole?. – A.C.

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Rule of law?? Courts rule Philadelphia man must pay $280,000 that he does not owe. – D.S.

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We Stand! 1500+ Armed Patriots Nullify i594 Gun Restrictions.. – D.S.

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Following up on Monday’s video regarding an MRAP to manage “constitutionalists”: Knezovich facing protest over MRAP flap. – B.B.

Notes for Wednesday – December 17, 2014

December 17th, 1905, was the birth day of Simo Häyhä, who was the world’s most successful sniper. Using an iron-sighted Mosin–Nagant in Finland’s Winter War, he had an astounding 505 confirmed sniper kills. He died April 1, 2002.

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Ready Made Resources is offering four extra cases of Mountain House with the purchase of their Premier Gold Package of Mountain House Foods, in addition to the standard package. That’s two cases of Rice and Chicken and two cases of Lasagna– a $636 value. That is in addition to the five cases of Yoders meats, one case of Red Feather butter, one case of bega cheese, and 18 yahoo canned cakes. Overall, that is a $5390 for only $3895.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208,
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Prepper Armor, by J.J.

As a former military and police tactical officer, I want to write a bit about armor, why consider using it, what are the types, and best choices for various budgets.

Why Armor?

Many Preppers do not believe that armor is a needed part of their preparations. However, after spending a combined 30 years in the military and in police work, I can assure you that when things break down people will act badly. People will take your stuff, rape your family, and kill you and your family. Weapons and armor will be vital. Armor is expensive. However, if you or a family member are shot, stabbed, or slashed in an attack in a TEOTWAWKI situation when you may not have access to an emergency room and a trauma surgeon, the injury could be life ending. Armor also gives you the ability, if shot while in the armor, to stay in the fight and provide additional firepower to aid your teammates or family. In addition, armor is an important force multiplier. If an enemy has to try and shoot you where there is no armor, it makes it that much harder for them to take you out of the fight.

Types of Armor

Armor is rated at different levels. As the protection of the armor goes up, the weight goes up along with cost. Ballistic body armor is rated by the Department of Justice to stop different bullets. Basic ballistic soft body armor will not stop penetration from ice pick-type stabs, but it will stop thick-bladed stabs and help protect from slashing. A vest saved a friend of mine from a razor slash to his chest. The razor slashed through several layers of the armor, but he was not injured. You can buy ballistic and stab proof vests, but they are more expensive. When it comes to bullets, pistol bullets are easier to stop than rifle bullets, because they are going slower. You need hard plates or dragon skin to stop most rifle bullets.

The basic levels start with Level IIA. (There was a level I, but it is not in production anymore.) Level IIA thru IIIA are traditionally soft body armor.

Level IIA will stop most handguns (not 44 magnums and larger). It is the thinnest and lightest armor. Detectives will wear 2A armor because it’s easy to hide. The thicker the soft armor, the less soft tissue damage is done by the blunt force trauma from the hit of the bullet. Level II armor will stop even more handgun rounds.

Level IIIA will stop all handgun rounds, even if fired out of sub machine guns. All of the above will stop shotguns with buckshot. Level IIIA will give you the best all around protection, but it is more bulky than the other two.

Level III is when you start the ability to stop rifle bullets and are traditionally hard body armor. Level III armor will stop military 5.56 (AR-15 bullets), 7.62 (AK-47), and 308 (AR-10). Basically Level III will stop most rifle rounds that are not armor piercing. Level III plates can weigh 12 pounds to 3.5 pounds. Weight is dependent on size and what they are made of. Off course, the lighter the plate the more it costs. Plates are made out of steel, ceramic, plastic, and a composition of all three substances. The normal size is 10×12; however, there are 11×14 and everything in between. There are also side armor plates that are normally 6×6 or 6×8. Some companies make upper arm plates.

Level IV armor will stop armor-piercing bullets. (NIJ) For a more detailed on ballistic ratings check out this web site.

What Kind of Armor to Buy?

The question is what armor should the prepper buy for himself and his family? To this question I would say that it depends on the threat they face, their physical capabilities, and their budget. You have to balance mobility versus protection. A slow target is easy to hit. You can get soft body armor that covers your neck, face, upper arms, lower arms, groin, torso, lower back, thighs, and lower legs. You can get hard armor that protects your chest, back, sides, and upper arms. Even if you buy top of the line armor, it will be very cumbersome if you cover all the areas described above. Even a very fit person would struggle wearing that much armor.

Threat

In a TEOTWAWKI situation, I would contend that you will see a full spectrum of firearms– handguns, shotguns, and rifles. You will see blunt force weapons and edged weapons. You may see armor-piercing ammo, but it will be unlikely.

Physical Capabilities

I would say that if you are in fairly good shape, a level IIIA vest with level III plates, level IIIA upper arm protection, and level IIIA groin protects would be adequate protection. I would also suggest a surplus Kevlar helmet with the new pad system inside, not the suspension harness system. This level of armor will protect your vital organs while still allowing you to be mobile. However, this level of armor would not be ideal if you are moving a distance cross country. Nevertheless, you can easily remove the upper arm armor and groin armor for greater mobility on foot patrols et cetera. Most helmets are rated at a level of II at least, and surplus helmets can be found easily at flea markets or surplus stores. With the new pad systems they will protect you from blunt force trauma as well as from most handgun or glancing rifle bullets.

A big trend today is people just wearing plate armor front and back. This works okay and will stop rifle and pistol rounds. If you do this, you need to make sure you have stand-alone plates and not plates that are rated as level III In-Conjunction with a level IIIA vest. This means you have to have soft level IIIA armor behind the plates to stop level III threats.

I personally like soft armor with hard armor. If you have ever been shot at, once lead starts flying I guarantee you will wish you had more body armor on. When I was shot at before body armor was issued in the military, I wanted to crawl inside my helmet, but the only option I had was to get as flat as possible. In addition, when bullets fly they hit things other than just people and throw up fragments of everything they hit. Soft body armor and protective clothing helps to protect from these fragments.

Just two level III rifle plates can be heavy. With most plates weighing around nine pounds each, you are talking about 20 pounds extra on your body. Adding level IIIA soft body armor adds about five or six pounds. If an individual is not physically capable of moving easily with 25 pounds strapped to their upper body, then you may want to go with just a front plate or just soft body armor.

Budget

Unless you are independently wealthy, money is always an issue. The good thing is you can start small and build up. Any armor is better than no armor. If you can buy only one vest, fight the urge to put it on your spouse or child, and put it on you or whoever is the primary defender. If the primary defender goes down, the whole family unit or team is in jeopardy. You can hide the unarmored family members behind hard cover that will stop bullets.

There is nothing wrong with used body armor! Most police departments replace armor after five years. I had mine replaced every three. There is no real evidence that armor taken care of degrades. Yes, if it was left outside in the sun and elements, then it would degrade. This is not the case; my armor rode around in an air-conditioned and heated car and only had brief periods where it was exposed to the elements. If you can afford new, then that is great; however, if you can get armor used from a reputable source, like Bullet Proof Me.com, then go for it.

There are two basic kinds of vests– tactical body armor and concealable. Tactical is what SWAT and military people wear. Concealable is what police officers wear under their shirts. Tactical vests cover more area, but they are more bulky and heavy. Concealable vests don’t cover as much and are lighter. Tactical vests cost more. If you are really on a tight budget, I would recommend used level II concealable vests from Bullet Proof Me.com and steel plates from either Infidel Body Armor or AR 500 Armor. Here are the links to these two those two companies. (http://infidelbodyarmor.com/) (http://www.ar500armor.com/). You will need a good plate carrier. Carriers sold by either Infidel, AR 500, or Bullet Proof me are good quality carriers. Condor carriers are good and Beez Combat Systems carriers are even better. When buying a plate carrier, be sure to get good, thick shoulder pads and a cummerbund with side plate pockets, so you can upgrade to side plates without adding an exterior pouch. The cummerbund keeps the plates centered on your chest. A concealable vest and plate carrier with plates are a versatile combination, because you can wear the vest concealed and then, when necessary, throw the plate carrier on over the concealable vest to increase your protection to include stopping rifle rounds. Most plate carriers and tactical vests have MOLLE on them and allow you to attach magazine pouches and other items. This is a great advantage, but be careful of adding even more weight to the vest.

If you have more money, I would recommend buying a BALCS cut level IIIA vest. BALCS is a tactical cut originally used by US Special Forces. BALCS vests are a good combination of protection and mobility in a tactical cut vest. BALCS vests come in medium, large, and extra large sizes. They are available from many sources, but the best I have found are Bullet Proof Me.com, Infidel Body Armor, and Operationally Proven Tactical Gear (http://www.optactical.com/). At these sites and Beez you can buy a BALCS vest carrier. There are many types; I would suggest one that has front and back plate pockets to fit the plates you are going to use along with side plate pockets. Plate carriers and vests come in many colors. I like Multicam, but it can be expensive. Coyote is a good basic color and can be used in almost any terrain. ATACS FG is good for heavily wooded areas. When it comes to which plates to buy, steel plates are the most affordable and most durable. However, if you can afford it, Armor Express Delta In-Conjunction level III plates are outstanding. They weigh 4.4 pounds in 10 x 12 inches and are a durable composite plate. I wore them on patrol in a plate carrier when I needed extra protection.

I was once on a perimeter with several other officers, and they were wearing heavy 8-pound plates. I was very comfortable, and you could see their discomfort when they kept leaning on stuff or adjusting their vests. I also called the manufacture; they tested the plates, and they did stop the army green tip armor-piercing round. (http://www.armorexpress.com/) You can buy the Delta Plates at Galls Public Safely Store. (http://www.galls.com/) I would only buy level IV plates, if you know you have an armor-piercing rifle bullet threat in your area; they are very heavy and expensive.

Body Armor is an important part of any Preppers arsenal. It will protect you and your family from serious injury and give the force multiplier to be able to stay in the fight despite being hit center mass. How much is your or your families’ lives worth?

Bibliography NIJ. (n.d.). NIJ Ballistic Testing Standard. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from Interarmer: http://www.interamer.com/Ballisticthreatlevels.aspx

Letter: Emergency Preparedness

Gentlemen:

My County Sheriff called me out of retirement to consult with him and the County EMA director on these topics. I drafted this letter after several hours of discussion with them and a few other community members in the meeting.

I sent this to every County EMA director and County Sheriff in Ohio and also every EMA County and State level DHS Emergency official in Michigan. (It was sent to Michigan on the day of the recent Detroit outage, for enhanced effect.)

It would be great to be spread wider, if you could see fit to link it on your site. I would hope readers might find the way to send it to every County EMA, Sheriff, and any other public official or private industry contact they might have. I follow the wisdom of Hosea 4:6, Proverbs 1:5, and Ecclesiastes to cast my bread upon the waters.

Thank you for your service. – K.H.

EMA Director:

We are retired professionals and volunteers with a background in both public and private sector emergency response. We are concerned about the critical infrastructure of our country and are volunteering our time and resources to help educate others who are still in active public and private capacities to help to improve our responses to threats and damage against our infrastructures, communities, and families. We are not selling anything or soliciting anything from you. We are merely providing you with some free information that can help you self assess your situations and help you to strengthen your critical systems that provide the basics of life to your communities, your families, and yourself.

Every aspect of our daily lives have become extensively intertwined in the basic ordering, shipment, and delivery of all our goods and services via grid-based systems. No modern industry or production chain can run without this interconnected web of support. Almost all goods and services are ordered, routed, and paid for electronically, by systems on grid-based power. Almost all communication in modern society is grid reliant, in one form or another. Our grid is overloaded, over-aged, and in need of a major overhaul.

Recent Congressional hearings have brought to light the growing threat of Cyber attack by several foreign countries and also by criminal, malicious hackers. These types of attack have the ability to take over sections and even shut down the power grids, telecoms, pipelines, and banking services that provide the basics of modern life to our communities, families, and to each and every one of us.

Recent Congressional hearings have also shown a growing threat of Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) on the grids from several countries that currently have, and a few who are striving to achieve, the ability to build and launch nuclear weapons. These types of EMP attacks are made by the detonation of one or more nuclear bombs between 30 and 300 miles above Earth’s surface. The resulting pulse can wipe out most electronics it reaches through the atmosphere by line of sight. The pulse can also burn out the major transformers, power grid lines, most telecoms, and critical support infrastructures.

There is also a statistical probability, based on historical events, that a naturally-occurring Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun and the associated Geo Magnetic Storm induced current flowing into the earth can induce a burn out of the power grids and long line networks. These pulses to grid, whether natural from a Geo Magnetic Storm or man made as an EMP, can have the same effect in destroying the power grid and most all modern systems tied to it. Research ”Electromagnetic pulse” and “Geo Magnetic Storms” online.

A grid take down will also have a disastrous effect on the several dozen nuclear power plants in the USA that only have limited back up power to keep the reactors and cooling pools stable. Most nuclear plants are not designed to generate self-sustaining flow rates of power and must be interconnected in balance with the dynamic grid load and other power plants in the grid. If critical pump systems are damaged, or adequate fuels are not delivered to resupply the back up power generators, you will have several dozen Fukushima-style melt downs across the country.

Nuclear plants are usually only “tested” for a 24-hour outage, where all backup systems are functional. Most nuclear plants are required to only have a four to eight hour battery backup for cooling systems and a between 7 and 30 days of diesel supply for emergency generators onsite. Most research on a grid take down predicts many months or years to recovery. There is also no practical experience for a country-wide “black start” of the grid under normal conditions, let alone with many critical systems being damaged.

The large, high-voltage transformers, which are critical to the electric grid, are custom built and require a one- to two-year lead time for each one. They cost about $10 million dollars each and are primarily made overseas. Experts have estimated that all the large, high-voltage transformers and most critical parts of the power grid could be protected from a Geo Magnetic Storm or an Electro Magnetic Pulse for a total price of about $2 billion dollars– the price of a B2 bomber.

The big power companies, their lobbyists, and Congress have danced around the issue for decades, debating who is responsible for grid oversight and bickering over who pays for such improvements. Waiting on the Federal Government to solve this issue is slow and politically biased, so please contact your Congressmen and Senators and demand immediate action to strengthen our power grid and critical infrastructures.

Seventy-three years ago our parent’s generation were called into action because of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that altered the course of world history.

Just 13 years ago the “9-11″ attacks happened, our generation was called into action to fight a global, guerrilla terror-based war, and it also altered the course of world history.

In both cases there were warning signs that were ignored because of the “Normalcy Bias” and the mindset that it was “Somebody Else’s Problem”, which lulls most Americans into a sense of complacency until a tragedy occurs.

Both those attacks led America into a deadly game of catch up in trying to meet the challenges brought by each attack. We are again facing threats that have the potential to kill hundreds of millions of Americans and cause total devastation to our infrastructure and country. When we are hit by an attack on our power grid and critical infrastructures, whether naturally from a Geo Magnetic Storm or by a man-made Electro Magnetic Pulse, it may be the end of the world as we know it.

We as local leaders and local members of communities will be the first (and maybe only) to respond to any local emergencies. We must take measures locally, to do as much as possible, to self assess, plan ahead, and strengthen our local assets to best serve our communities, families, and ourselves. It will be much better to plan ahead and make provisions than to be forced to try and play catch up after the event occurs.

If YOU do not work to coordinate this type of self assessment and then work with other local emergency agencies, infrastructure utilities, and vital service providers to make your systems better for your communities, then who will?

There is no fate, except that which we make for our communities, our families, and ourselves.

We are sending this letter to you to help educate you on these issues. We hope you will self assess your resources and find areas for improvement in both redundancy and resilience by planning for improvements to your various CRITICAL SYSTEMS. This will help to supply the basic necessities to your communities and families during a widespread grid down event or even a localized storm-related outage. The first critical system on the list (WATER) has been expanded below, as an example of how to try and evaluate each of the other categories.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all critical systems and is merely provided to initiate you at a local level to best evaluate your specific situations. If you find other areas of concern that you feel are missing from our sample list, please inform us of them. We realize that many of your agencies are pressed for manpower and resources. Please consider using assistance from your different contacts in law enforcement, fire, medical services, and local government to help you complete these evaluations and then plan proper responses. There are many sections of the federal, state, and local codes and statutes to help you. “Many hands make for light work.”

Here are a few links to videos and articles about some of these threats:

If you need more information on these threats, you can find much more data by online searches.

Thank you for your service.

For specific questions, please contact us by email.

emergencymanagementplanning@outlook.com

CRITICAL SYSTEMS YOU SHOULD EXAMINE IN DETAIL

  • Water source supplies, treatment supplies, distribution, and control
  • Electric power: Grid power providers and emergency backup sources– Generator, Solar, Wind, Battery, other. Critical data back up on non-volatile media, such as CD or tape and OFFLINE, COMPLETELY UN-WIRED laptops, servers, computers, monitors, and printers (all stored in a Faraday cage) and that can be hooked up on emergency power after an event to read and print data. (You might have older machines that are still functional and can serve as a back up in this fashion.)
  • Communications: Internet, land line, cell, radio– VHF, UHF, amateur radio, FRS, GMRS, CB radios. Commercial broadcast FM, AM, SW, cable stations for Emergency Broadcast System messaging.
  • Gasoline, diesel, lubricants, and parts supply sources
  • Heating: Natural gas and propane supplies and alternative (i.e. wood) heat sources
  • Sewage treatment facilities and supplies
  • Fire safety equipment and medical supplies
  • Transportation: County, township, municipal, board of education, private industry, heavy equipment vehicles
  • County, township, municipal, community, schools and/or church buildings for use as shelters
  • Food: Stores, Supply, Storage, Preparation, and Distribution
  • General sanitation and refuse disposal
  • Medical facilities, medicines, and emergency supplies
  • Private transportation of critical infrastructure personnel
  • Hard copies of personnel addresses and emergency procedures for reporting to work
  • Community roster of skills that members have that can be utilized in emergencies
  • Agreements in place with local assets for emergency priority usage of materials and facilities with critical personnel
  • Methods of remuneration through cash, barter, ledger tally, chits, or other mediums of exchange
  • Physical and personnel security measures

Example of a detailed examination for a Critical System:

Potable Water:

  • Centralized systems source: Reservoir, public well fields,
  • How is it pumped and stored?
  • Pump sizes?
  • Pipe and couplings sizes at access points?
  • Number of pumps?
  • Pump locations?
  • Spares on hand?
  • Spare critical SCADA, PLC, and other sensitive electronics stored properly in FARADAY CAGES?
  • Local sources of spare parts, equipment, repairs?
  • Voltage ranges?
  • Motor phases?
  • Amperage required?
  • Can pumps be currently wired to be more ready to hook to some portable generators?
  • If wired for backup generators, where are they stored? Spares with oils, and parts?
  • Gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane?
  • Fuel source and storage on site? (What you have on hand may be all you have for a long time.)
  • Alternate fuels in case natural gas lines shut down? Local gas wells in area?
  • Amount of fuel per hour required?
  • Water produced per hour of pump use?
  • Number of personnel to operate, under emergency situations?
  • If systems are set for auto run during grid down off of a backup generator power, can they be easily and manually turned off and on so as to only be efficiently run during critical operations, such as water sourcing, processing, and water tower filling?
  • Can you measure water production, pumping, and tank tower levels manually, without electronics?
  • Charts and flow rates printed on hand?
  • What is required for regular potable treatment?
  • Emergency standards treatment?
  • Processing machinery, hardware and software to install on spare off line machines?
  • Treatment chemical, testing materials, and supplies?
  • Spare critical machinery on hand and physically disconnected off line?
  • Building access?
  • Manual calculations and measurement equipment for batch processing, paper logs, and operation manuals?
  • Is distribution piping operations manually or auto switched?
  • Do you have the ability through valves and locks on hand to lock down distribution of the system and shut off service for emergency rationing at a few locations, if required? (People need potable water to safely drink and cook with. People can use individually sourced rainwater or other water to wash or flush with.) Think centralized source for showers, toilets, washing locations, et cetera. It will be easier to walk to a central facility than it is practical to provide everyone free and unrestricted access to water in times of limited supplies of materials and fuels. (How is your water board going to assess and receive payment in a grid down situation?)
  • Paper maps of system? Hand written live tracking of what is open and closed on the system.
  • Do you have emergency orders and procedures in your village ordinances for emergency operation and rationing?
  • Are there buildings in your distribution system that are located at key points where a water line can serve them as emergency distribution point, while general distribution lines are shut down?
  • At water points, do you have existing plumbing to serve as emergency distribution points with multiple hoses?
  • Alternative heat/ventilation maintaining treatment facilities temperature/humidity controls.
  • Physical measures and personnel for security for all components and buildings in the system?

Private Wells, Surface Collections:

  • Small generators can be used frugally to run existing pumps to efficiently draw water from wells. You can use bulk water storage tanks/cisterns/barrels to store it and then use gravity or hand pumps to draw off the bulk storage. A 12 VDC “Shurflo” style water pump, like in campers/RV’s, with some deep cycle batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, or small generators can be used to draw off stored water to pressurize existing lines and bladder tanks through a garden hose/washer connection to provide running water. Extra bladder tanks added into an existing water system can extend pressurized water supply between pumping operations. Small farm pumps, yard sprayers, or boat bilge pumps can be cleaned and converted for emergency use. Think repack kits and parts.
  • Hand pumps- Search “emergency water hand pump” online, and you will find a long list of hand pump designs in both build-it-yourself designs and prepackaged drop in kits. Do you have a windmill pump?
  • Rain water– Various collection methods can gather water from downspouts to holding tanks/cisterns/barrels. This water can be used to flush toilets by filling the tank on the back of your toilet and sending the waste to your leach beds. Search “rain barrel guide” online.
  • River and stream water can be used as a source. This water has the highest amounts of pollutants, chemical farm runoff, silts, and bio hazards from animal populations. This source will require a lot of settling to remove suspended solids. Do you have water barrel carts or sturdy buckets and shoulder yokes for carrying water?

Treatment:

  • Search “emergency water treatment” on the Internet for options for emergency treatment drinking options by boiling, filtering, or chemically treating. Water can be filtered with systems, like a Berkey, Doulton, or Katadyn style, that use gravity or hand pumps. Stock up on chemical treatments and research online for “pool shock that is approved for emergency water purification”.
  • Bathing by hand washing and showers are very efficient. Clothes washing and utility use of water will present a whole new set of problems. Study how your ancestors did this and how Amish or other remote world populations still do this today. Do you have wash tubs, clothes lines, and clothes pins? Search “primitive clothes washing” online. Do you have spare plumbing pipes, fittings, solvents, glues, pastes, clamps, tools, hoses, et cetera on hand?

These are not complete lists. You should encourage personnel to critically think through the various life-sustaining operations from start to finish and come up with emergency procedures and back up plans to help ensure basic services during a grid down event. Write everything down in hard copy manuals and practice how to implement procedures by drills.

IF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US WOULD TURN OFF OUR DAILY ENTERTAINMENT FIX AND CONTACT OUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS AND HOLD THEIR “FEET TO THE FIRE”, THEY MIGHT IMMEDIATELY WORK TO FIX THE WEAKNESS IN THE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE INSTEAD OF WASTING MONEY ON THINGS LIKE THESE

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/30-stupid-things-the-governemnt-is-spending-money-on.

#18 on the list SHOWS WE SPEND $25 billion on maintaining EMPTY AND UNUSED FEDERAL BUILDINGS EACH YEAR.

We could fix the grid 12 times over on just that spending alone. (If the grid fails, they are toast along with everything else.)

HERE IS AN OFFICIAL LIST OF WASTE FROM A SENATOR’S OFFICE.

http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=b7b23f66-2d60-4d5a-8bc5-8522c7e1a40e

LET’S WORK TOGETHER SO THE COUNTRY DOES NOT BURN, WHILE OUR POLITICIANS PLAY FIDDLE AND STUFF THEIR POCKETS.

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. THE COST IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE AND DECISIVE ACTION IN THE FACE OF DANGER.

Tempus Fugit, Carpe Diem