Notes for Thursday – October 23, 2014

I’ve been pleased to see such positive reviews for my latest novel, Liberators, which was just released on Tuesday. Here are some highlights from the reviews:

  • Publishers Weekly called Liberators the “…rousing fifth after-the-apocalypse thriller [installment in the novel series]” and also mentioned that “Supporters of the ‘prepper’ movement…will lap up every detail.”
  • One of the co-editors of Total Survivalist wrote: “My overall assessment is this book was excellent. I tried not to get into spoilers but there is a lot on bugging out by vehicle as well as by foot. Additionally many interesting lessons for potential insurgency situations as well as more general survivalist ones were present. Furthermore I found it a very enjoyable read with characters you can really relate to and root for as they go through the events that unfold. This is probably the best book in the series.”
  • Jeff Soyer of North Country Review of Books gave Liberators a three star rating overall, and a four star rating for Writing Style.
  • Mark Rubinstein of The Huffington Post called the book “…another entertaining and thought-provoking novel, describing steps people can take in the event of a global collapse.”

The novel debuted at #1 in Amazon.com’s Science Fiction-Dystopian novels category, #1 in their Mystery novels category, and at #1 in their Action & Adventure, War & Military novels category.

Amazon still shows the novel “In Stock”, but I expect them to soon sell out temporarily (with a lull for re-ordering–they are already rationing copies for people who place large orders, by sending just partial shipments with delayed shipping dates for the balance of their orders), so get your orders in soon.

Once you’ve finished reading it, I’d appreciate seeing your brief reviews–good, bad, or indifferent–at Amazon.com and BN.com. Thanks. – JWR

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 hardcase 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 1 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 Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS 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.
  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. RepackBoxis 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, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

Identifying and Protecting Yourself and Your Family Against Hazardous Chemical Material Incidents, by a Marine in Missouri – Part 1

We live in a society that depends on hazardous materials to create the technological wonders and comforts we expect for everyday life. Whether you take your kids to a swimming pool or drink any sort of city water, you knowingly or unknowingly depend on large amounts of chlorine to ensure the water is safe. Anywhere there is a mechanic shop there are chemicals required to lubricate, clean, and repair materials; some of those chemicals are potentially dangerous or deadly. As you drive down the highway you see thousands of semi-trucks carting loads of materials that could be more deadly than a chemical warfare agent. Trains transport the same cargo as semi-trucks in larger quantity, sometimes dozens or hundreds of different chemicals in the same train which could have terrible consequences if there were to be a derailment. You may even live near a chemical plant that creates these materials, and you have no clue what type of dangers could be presented in the event of an emergency.

This article is by no means designed to scare you or to encourage you to try and protest against these chemicals being used, produced, or transported through your area. Chemical transport is regulated, your local fire department has at least basic training, if not hazardous materials response capabilities, and quite frankly it is a good thing that we have these wonderful technologies to make our lives better. However, it is prudent to have some basic knowledge on how to recognize various chemicals, which are traveling the roads and railroads near you and to have an understanding of proper precautions to take if there is an emergency. One more clarification is necessary, and I will re-iterate this at appropriate points in the article: there is no single solution or mask or suit or detector you can buy to make you and your family completely safe in the event of a hazardous materials incident. If anyone ever tells you that a particular mask or filter or suit will be the perfect protection for everything, they are misleading you and are attempting to provide you with information that is both incorrect and terribly dangerous.

I am a CBRN defense specialist in the Marine Corps with 16 years experience. I am qualified at the hazardous materials technician level through the Marine Corps; I have gone through the Army’s Technical Escort course; I have done many training exercises in Level A, B, and C protection; and I regularly instruct this information to Marines and soldiers. All of the information I will present is available in some great open source publications. (I will discuss two very good and easily readable references I would suggest you become familiar with.) By no means can reading this information in an article EVER provide anyone enough know-how to actually respond to a hazardous material incident. This article is intended to provide the reader with an awareness of what is out there and what reasonable steps you can take if you are faced with a hazardous materials incident.

The best reference, IMHO, you can use to become aware of the hazardous materials around you is the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). This book is published every four years by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The current ERG is the 2012 edition. This book will NOT tell you everything about a chemical; it is designed to provide initial safety recommendations for a hazardous materials incident. I would also suggest that unless you plan on becoming part of a volunteer fire department or get a job as a HazMat tech, there is no need to go any further that the precautions outlined in the ERG; it would not be feasible to outfit yourself with enough gear to really be safe and stay in the area or clean something up, and quite frankly, you would run up against a plethora of laws and regulations if you attempted to do any more than just protect yourself and your family from the threat of an incident. I will use the 2012 ERG page numbers to explain how the publication works. Be aware that these numbers may change in subsequent editions (2016, 2020, etc). The ERG is divided into five sections with some information at the end of the publication for using the manual. The non-bordered white pages (1-19) are general information to include some basic transport container designs, DOT hazard placards, and information on other warnings one might see on vehicles, trains, tankers, and pipelines that transport hazardous materials. The yellow bordered pages (20-89) use DOT ID numbers (which would be labeled on the placards shown in pages 6-7) to identify chemicals and provide you with the guide number (orange highlighted pages) to look for safety distances and response recommendations. The blue pages (90-157) use the actual chemical name to provide you with the guide number to look at for safety; in addition they provide the DOT ID number for the chemical. The orange highlighted pages (158-283) contain the various guide numbers. Each guide number is related to a group of similar chemicals. These guide numbers give you information concerning fire and explosion risk, health risk, general public safety response, protective clothing, recommended evacuation distances, what to do if there is a fire or spill, and first aid measures. The last section has both white and green labeled pages (285-355). This section is a basic initial hazard area recommendation for use by responders if the chemical identified has a green highlight in either the yellow or blue pages. Any chemical highlighted green has a specific danger of having the potential to have a downwind inhalation hazard. It uses the DOT ID number and guide number to provide initial isolation (safe distances) and protection (follow on safe distances for downwind hazards) for both small and large spills. Just so you know, HazMat responders would use the green pages as an initial guide; there is a LOT of hazard plume plotting software available to teams that can provide much more accurate distances. After the green section, the ERG has a user’s guide as well as some general discussion on protective gear and emergency numbers to call in case of an incident.

So how could the ERG be used by someone who is not a first responder or HazMat technician responsible for actually mitigating the issue? The best thing this guide does is to give you a basic understanding of how to recognize what types of vehicles transport various types of chemicals where you live. Using this guide you can keep an eye out for semi-trucks and trains in your area, notice the shape of the trailers or train cars (pages 8 and 9), and get a general understanding of what is transported. If you do this over time, you will have a good general idea on the types of hazards in your area, if there were to be an accident, earthquake, or something that could cause these vehicles to release the material they are transporting. For example, on page 9 of the ERG, one of the illustrations is of the DOT 412/TC 412/SCT 312 type trailer which is designed to carry corrosive liquids. If you take a look at the picture and then compare it to what you have seen on the highway, you can determine that any time you see a smaller diameter cylindrical semi-trailer with multiple visible ribs circling the trailer, you can generally assume that vehicle is carrying a corrosive of some sort, maybe an acid. In addition to looking at the design of the trailer, you can look at pages 6 and 7 and see various DOT placards that are required on hazardous shipments. One or more placards will be on the back or side of a trailer; the placard will be of the same design shown in the ERG, and it will have a four-digit number specifying the chemical. For instance, if you noticed one of those DOT 412 trailers, you would probably see one of the placards labeled 153 on page 7—a black and white placard with a test tube pouring a liquid on a hand and a piece of material. One possible number you may see written on that placard could be 1789. If you look in the yellow pages, you can see that a DOT 412 trailer with a placard number 1798 is probably transporting either Hydrochloric acid or Muriatic acid (page 38 of the yellow pages), and the guide number for those chemicals is 157. If there were an accident (or just to know the potential danger), you could then flip to guide number 157 in the orange pages (page 252) and see the various potential dangers from that cargo. However, you would not use the green pages in this instance because there is not a danger of a significant downwind inhalation hazard past the isolation area recommended in the orange pages; you know this because DOT ID number 1798 was not highlighted in green on page 38. You can take the time to look at the various transport vehicles in your area, tally them down, and identify just what potential hazards you may have going through your area with the ERG. A nice thing about the ERG is that it is publicly available online, and you can order physical copies of them through the DOT website. This is a good site to go to access the ERG. You can also use a search engine to look for the ERG and be directed right to a PDF copy of it.

Another good publication is the NIOSH guide to Chemical Hazards. This guide is put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It provides specific pertinent information about hundreds of widely used chemicals, including trade names for the chemical, physical description, chemical and physical properties, personal precautions, respirator recommendations, any other types of chemicals which could cause a reaction to this chemical, how the chemical would get into your system, and first aid. The NIOSH guide is a bit more in-depth and uses a lot of acronyms and key words that you would have to familiarize yourself with, but all of the information can be found in the front of the book in pages vii-xxx. Although this is a great book for information and can be found online for free. There is one point I would like to make about this guide. If you decide to look through the guide, you will find hundreds of different chemicals, most of which have the potential to be transported through your area. However, there are also certain chemical warfare agents listed that would not be transported through your area. As you look through the guide, you will notice that each of them have very different protection requirements. This is important to understand. I have noticed through conversation with both civilians and military personnel that there is a clear misunderstanding of how protection works with chemicals. On the military side, many people assume that MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) gear and an M-40 or M-50 series field protective mask will protect against anything. This is not the case! Military chemical over-garments and field protective masks are specifically designed for chemical warfare agents. Chemical warfare agents (CWAs) are specific chemicals (blood agents, blister agents, nerve agents, and choking agents) that have long shelf lives, can be weaponized, and are used in large quantities on the battlefield. In recent years, there has been an awakening in the military to the threat of Toxic Industrial Materials (TIMs). TIMs include industrial chemicals (what I am discussing in this article), industrial biologicals, and industrial radiologicals. Military gear and its equivalent, which is often the stuff you can buy online, is not necessarily capable of protecting against all of these threats. Also, one quick note on the military-style gear you can purchase online: there are shelf lives with all military gear. I imagine that a lot of the old military gear you can get online may very well be past its shelf life, so it may not even be completely effective for what it was originally designed for.

Letter: Costco Emergency Foods

I know you all recommend Costco Emergency Food. I don’t know if you’ve been monitoring them, but about Tuesday they had sold out of at least three items. Just 24 hours later, it was 11 sold out. (I counted.) Now it’s almost all sets. All of the expensive sets, including the $4-5K pallets, have sold out. It’s worth noting to your readers. As they sell out, they’re initially putting “sold out” over the product, then removing it totally from the website. – P.K.

Hugh Replies: Costco is a tough cookie to base buying trends on. Their purchasing model seems to be different than most stores. I don’t disagree that people are starting to wake up, but Costco would not be the store that I base that statement on. I do not have behind-the-scenes purchasing information, but over the years I have seen products come and go. They want to carry whatever sells, but they also look for deals in their purchasing. They don’t seem to be concerned that any particular product is available all the time; in fact, I have seen them delay product on the shelves for several months because they can get a better deal from the manufacturer.

Economics and Investing:

Fear of Ebola Now Creating Weakness in U.S. Stocks?

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Permanent Damage to US Economy-Michael Snyder. – J.W.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Chris Martenson- How The Federal Reserve Is Purposely Attacking Savers – This is a little slow to develop but a nonetheless a great article.

Slump in Mortgage Rates Fails to Rally Home Buyers

David stockman- Wall Street Is One Sick Puppy—–Thanks To Even Sicker Central Banks

19 Very Surprising Facts About The Messed Up State Of The U.S. Economy

Odds ‘n Sods:

This gives new meaning to the term “Chicago Democratic Machine Politics”: Voting error? – MtH

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I missed seeing this when it was first posted at The Prepper Journal: Is it Crazy to Worry About the Golden Horde?

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As vulgar as it sounds, desperate people do desperate things. It’s something to remember as you prep: Pakistan has lots of problems. Now add cannibalism. – T.P.

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Remember, these are the situations that “suspend” your rights: Special report: America’s perpetual state of emergency. – SMZ

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Thoughts from Frank and Fern: Wakey! Wakey! The Wolf Is At The Door. – Avalanche Lily

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“It is indeed a singular thing that people wish to pass laws to nullify the disagreeable consequences that the law of responsibility entails. Will they never realize that they do not eliminate these consequences but merely pass them along to other people? The result is one injustice the more and one moral the less.” – Frederic Bastiat

Notes for Wednesday – October 22, 2014

Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 hardcase 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 1 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 Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS 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.
  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. RepackBoxis 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, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

Survival is Attractive, by L.M.

As a young, single female, I guess I’m probably the furthest in most eyes from the typical profile of a self-sustaining person who prepares for anything. I am a 26 year old regular girl with no military family or background. I never really liked camping or the outdoors, and I don’t even live in an overly remote or homestead-type community.

I grew up just like most every other girl– cheering, having sleep-overs, and generally being as naïve as most girls are, unfortunately. I’m not unusually strong or unique; I’m just a girly girl. I’ve always shopped and been focused on fashion, Facebook, and flirting, like most girls. I had no idea there was any other type of girl, honestly. It wasn’t until the turn of events over the last 5-10 years that I started to question much of what is happening around the world and specifically here in the U.S. I started to read and ask questions and have what I call “an awakening”. I started to find that trouble is everywhere and that it would be common sense just to have provisions, even for a weather-related or local emergency. So began my journey, even with the odds perhaps stacked against me, as I had virtually no one agreeing with my new awareness, no family support, and have even occasionally dated guys who thought it was paranoia. Needless to say, I didn’t keep these chaps around long!

My intention in writing an article is simply to share what I have learned, the resolve and strength I have gained, and the skills I have developed in hopes that it just may inspire or encourage anyone out there who feels they are in a similar situation with their back against the wall.

My journey started with the changing of my mindset from being entertained and consuming and spending to one where I was being educated and planning and taking action. I started of course, like many, to store away clean water at my small house, to research and order long shelf-life food, and to acquire some outdoor gear that could help me survive in the event of a catastrophe, hurricane, earthquake, or even terrorism. I’m not the prophet who knows when and how this may go down, but I know I am now greatly prepared for anything that can be thrown at me– whether a natural or some unnatural thing in this crazy world.

Next, I built my own survival bag. Some call it a bug out bag or a 72-hour bag. I still don’t exactly know why the term bug-out is even used. (Ha ha.) I tailored my bag to me, as a lady, with the guidance of articles on SurvivalBlog.com. I quickly started to understand what and why each piece of gear is needed inside it. I thought through the types of items needed to pack inside in order to have tools to enable me to survive in a crisis.

I have used frugality to add weekly to my collection of gear, and I go regularly with a few other awakened friends to practice, camp out, or generally hone our basic outdoor skills. We go actually practice using the gear we have gathered, so we know how to use it and ways to adapt new skill sets. We always schedule a monthly time to use our sidearms at a range and have even taken tactical classes for women, so we are more than capable of dealing with home threats.

We are also moving in the direction of establishing a property, so as to be able to sustain and live through troubles without so called bugging out and being on the move, further risking our lives to violence or death. From all my reading, it is clear that having a fortress is far superior to walking through unknown areas with a backpack. This takes time and money, and because of my decisions to live more lean and unplug from needing so much junk and entertainment, I am succeeding in getting this ball rolling.

The primary topic I really am excited to share is the absolutely phenomenal opportunity that has been developing. I had the vision to start a private meet-up for other women, primarily. I wanted to connect with them and open their minds to see where they stood on views and action in preparing their lives and homes. I did not limit it to single females, mainly because I want to help more people, and there aren’t tons of these that prepare anyway. For the ones that do, I am certainly finding them. Many of these have busy husbands and some come from households with fairly prepared men, but the gals have little to no knowledge, experience, or confidence in these areas. I’m no expert, but I am currently ahead of the game from these in our group, and they are so hungry and open to soaking the knowledge and first-hand experience that I am so enthusiastic about sharing freely with them. We meet and share ideas and generally get to know each other and build friendships that are turning out to become life-long type trusts, like a sisterhood. We have some focused topics each time we meet, such as how to cut costs currently and free up our budgets, improving our mental toughness, creativity in preparing, and investing in appropriate gear for our families.

Other topics range from small gardening and first aid for our families to knowing how to deal with accidents and injuries, gun safety, and readying kids and spouses. We are having such a wonderful time helping each other grow and learn in a safe, fun environment. I am convincing these gals that survival is attractive and for them to take ownership of their role to have a very prepared household, whether that means as a single, like me currently, or as a married woman with many children. The idea is catching like wildfire!

I almost always bring along something tangible that I can introduce them to and explain how it works, showing them step by step the ropes. Last week’s prop was a water filtration system, which I was able to build cheaply by following some fairly easy advice from SurvivalBlog. I went by a local grocery bakery and asked if they had any empty food grade, white, 5-gallon buckets from baking supplies. They had one, and I had to return twice to get what I was after. Now I have accumulated around 15. I went home and got started. First, I cleaned them thoroughly because they had chocolate icing in them! After, a good bath, I drilled a hole in what I will call the bottom one. This is at the bottom for a spout or faucet to go in to dispense filtered water. Spouts are found easily online. I used Amazon and paid $3.95 each. Next, I drilled four small holes in the bottom one’s lid so water could drip down from above. I placed the top bucket on the bottom’s lid so I could drill both simultaneously. This gives you the opportunity to mount one to four water filters in the top reservoir bucket. I chose Berkey carbon elements. These are around $50 a piece and are also available on Amazon. I used two for the 5-gallon protocol. The holes you don’t use with a filter need plugging so unfiltered water can’t just drip down. Rubber plugs are also cheap to order from the Internet. Fill the top reservoir with tap water or pre-filtered water and give it a few hours and you will have clean, chemical free, gravity-filtered drinking and cooking water for home, camping, or in a truly devastating catastrophe, should we lose water or electricity or whatever cause of lack of resources. This is my primary water filtration system for home, and I don’t need to drink dirty chemical-filled tap water anymore, nor do I fall for the scam of bottled water, most of which is mere dirty tap water, and from own personal tests we find it has a lot of hardness and chemicals still in it. I don’t use water pitcher filters either. Nothing measures up to the standards of these water units we are building.

Soon, we plan to cover sprouting, organic gardening from heirloom seeds, and other builds, like lamps, heaters, stoves and an A/C unit with the same ole trusty 5-gallon bucket as a base.

The empowering we are experiencing is such an awesome blessing, and it is quite the rush if I do say so myself to learn so much as a young woman and pass it on and see it change other womens’ lives, especially in the way of confidence. This is invaluable. I really am thriving by doing this, and I am so grateful to be right here right now. Men are begging to get in on what we are doing now, because we are gaining so many skills, or maybe they are attracted to kick-butt women who know how to survive!

My mantra to people, especially women is always:

  • You are capable and strong.
  • Never make any excuse for why you aren’t prepared for a changing world we live in.
  • Start taking action today and watch how much fun you will start having.
  • Help each other. Connect with others, especially women who can relate with you. There’s support there.
  • Be resourceful. There are common items everywhere that can be used to prepare.

Letter: Watching a Snake Eating its Own Tail

Mr Rawles,

I’m reminded today of a line from your Patriots series describing the crunch as “like watching a snake eating its own tail.”

Today’s economic news is exactly that– Terror of Ebola and rising interest rates forces investors to dump their dollars into treasuries, artificially lowering interest rates and creating a new housing bubble. This fear in turn leads to a “reconsideration” of raising interest rates and ending bond purchases by the Fed.

In the interest of moderation, I intend to withdraw the majority of my 401k Monday and pay off the mortgage on my retreat, leaving only enough to cover the tax implications. This is a bloody mess with no end game but a collapse of the dollar. It’s time for fervent prayer, topping off storage food, and getting ready. Reading your archives, you did an admirable job of warning the masses in March-September 2008. Perhaps it is time to start ringing the bell with the same urgency? If it falls on deaf ears, so be it, but at least you used your bully pulpit for a good cause….?

God Bless – J.K.

Economics and Investing:

Video: Why Hillary Clinton Would Be a One-Term President, According to Peter Thiel

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The Fed “IS” the Problem! – JFJ

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Video: Fed Emergency Update – Mike Maloney

How Markets Need $200 Billion Each Quarter From Central Bankers

McDonald’s Profit Drops 30% as U.S. Sales Slump – Coca-Cola is struggling as well, as the largest beverage company. Maybe some is due to obvious health concerns, but there is more at play here as folks struggle to keep up.

Video: Peter Schiff – Santelli Exchange: QE Consequences

JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Books

Crisis Preparedness Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival by Jack A. Spigarelli

Preparedness Now!: An Emergency Survival Guide (Expanded and Revised Edition) by Aton Edwards

Fiction

Vandenberg by Oliver Lange (Invasion scenario. Note: It was later republished under the title: Defiance: An American Novel)

Movies

Amazing Grace (Biography of the abolitionist William Wilberforce)

The Thing (Has some horrific scenes, but it is thought-provoking. NOT for kids!)

Notes for Tuesday – October 21, 2014

Release Day for Liberators!

Liberators Cover

My latest novel Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse was released today (Tuesday, October 21, 2014) by E.P. Dutton. I hope that you’ll enjoy reading it. It is the longest book in the Patriots novel series, and it ties together many characters from the previous installments. This novel describes both a harrowing and lengthy cross-country journey from the DC Beltway to Idaho, as well as many adventures in western Canada, as the nation suffers two waves of foreign invasion. This novel has an emphasis on intelligence analysis and resistance warfare tactics.

In addition to the hardcover edition, there is also an e-book and audiobook of Liberators being released today. (The audiobook was expertly narrated by Eric G. Dove.)

If you plan to buy any copies for Christmas gifts, then please order them today. That will help push the book into the top 20 on Amazon’s sales ranks. Many Thanks! – JWR

o o o

Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 hardcase 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 1 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 Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS 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.
  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. RepackBoxis 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, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

Five Things You Need To Do To Be Prepared To Defend Yourself, Family, and Home, by E.W.

  1. Buy weapons, not just guns.

    You’ve heard the expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. This applies to the realm of tools for defending yourself, your family, home, and neighborhood. Put simply, you need to buy weapons and not just guns. Then, you need to know how to use them.

    Simply purchasing a battle carbine or several different firearms and a bunch of ammunition is not a complete approach to the solution of personal defense. It may be a good start, but there’s more to this whole thing.

    One way to think of this is geographically. Battle conditions are continually determined by geography. Geography determines distance of engagement, use of cover, available resources, and so forth. If you are in a parking complex and find yourself facing an attacker with a knife, the nature of the situation and geography dictates certain things about your options for handling the problem. If you’re in a parking complex, you’re probably going to or from work in the city. This means you probably don’t have the practical option of a good carbine but instead may be able to use a handgun. A parking garage means relatively shorter distances, and the nature of that attack also suggests close engagement. Close distances shorten the amount of time you have to react. Is there cover or are there obstacles you can use to buy yourself some time? Probably, and if you can then you should.

    By contrast, the problem of defending your home and neighborhood presents a different set of dilemmas but also some advantages. This is why different crises require different approaches and often different tools, even when the basic threat and basic goals are the same.

    The best remedy is prevention. This applies in defense. If you can keep the problem from happening in the first place, you are much better off. Here’s an example: You are worried about your home being approached from the back through your alleyway. What can you do to limit access and alert you or your neighbors to the approach of a potential threat? This is where you need to look at the situation and the resources, while being realistic and creative. Falling a tree across the alley at the end of the block with your chainsaw or hand cross cut saw and axe (you have these, right?) can be an effective deterrent to vehicles and is probably a good option. It’s not going to stop most people on foot, however, and can’t be expected to solve the potential problem alone. What else could be done in this situation? If you can’t keep everything and everyone out, at least you want to know when someone approaches. You might rework a trail camera to alert you when it detects movement, or you could go low tech and set up a hidden trip wire alert device. Have you studied on how to do this type of thing? The overall point is planning and preparation. The idea is to work smarter, not harder, as they say.

    If the situation devolves to where you need to use force, lethal or otherwise, to protect you and your family, you still want to have options. If you have to engage a person inside or close to your house, what weapon is the best option for this? Will this work just as well if you have to engage at a greater distance? What is the greatest distance you are likely to have to engage? Is there a great variation in potential distance? These are some factors you need to look at when choosing your tools and weapons to defend your home as you address the problem from every angle.

  2. Train with everything.

    What do you train with? Do you use a rifle and handgun or a shotgun? These are the most common. However, if that’s the extent of your training program, you’re limiting your options. Not only should you train with a wide variety of weapons– firearms, edged weapons, personal weapons such as used in various martial arts, and so forth– but also with items not normally considered as such. Most of these things would not be your first choice, but under certain circumstances they may become your best or only choice. These could include vehicles, a shovel, and combustible items; the list goes on. You are limited only by your desire to choose one tool over another. Are you prepared to use such items as weapons, if needed? Could you do this effectively?

    Now, I’m not necessarily suggesting you practice using your car to ram things or maneuvers for hitting man-sized objects. You could though. However, it’s probably more realistic to train for some of these things using the mental rehearsal technique. This method has been shown to greatly increase a person’s success in a particular activity even when they haven’t had the opportunity to actually participate in it. You can do this at almost any time throughout the day and keep your mental activity sharp and your mind working.

  3. Lone Rangers die first.

    One of the greatest trends in today’s survival information world is the “bug out” concept. I understand there are scenarios in which getting out of your area is your only safe option. However, I feel this concept has been over marketed to the point where it’s more the latest style in the survival realm than actually the best choice for many people most of the time.

    If your crisis plan is to bug out, you should first ask yourself why. What is the pressing need to leave your home and neighborhood? Unless there is one, you might be someone who’s gone along with the “bug out” fad without giving it the consideration it deserves.

    If you do have a compelling reason to bug out, make sure you have weighed all the pros and cons connected to that. Where are you bugging out to? Is it a fully stocked, prepped, and self-sustaining wilderness retreat? That’s the dream. If that’s where you are going, great! Still, the reality is, for most of us, that this will only be a dream. (If you have such a place, my next question is why you don’t already live there.) Are you bugging out to a relative’s house in the country? How far is it and what kind of traveling obstacles will you confront? What kind of transportation do you have?

    Even if you do have a good place to bug out to, what will you be able to bring with you? Do you plan to return at some point, and when? Are you prepared to find supplies or property in your house gone or destroyed after you weren’t there to protect it from other hungry people or looters? What will you do when supplies at your bug out location are used up? If, for example, your plan is to leave your house in the city or suburbs and drive to the mountains with a tent, a 72-hour kit, and some extra food and water, I would suggest you reconsider. First, you would be leaving the sturdy and dependable shelter and protection of your home. You would be leaving any good people that could help you, and who you could help. (You have networked with your neighbors, right?) You would be leaving a lot of resources behind. You would be on your own with limited supplies. What if it’s winter? A tent probably won’t cut it. What do you do when your food runs out? Suffice to say, you need to make sure you are not trading one set of problems for a worse set.

    Additionally, bugging out often means losing the strength of numbers. In almost any dangerous situation, your ability to handle it is exponentially greater with each dependable person you have on your side. For instance, you can’t be skilled in every possible area. As people seeking to be prepared, we try to be well versed in a variety of skills, but there is always someone who knows a skill we do not or who can perform the skill better. Unless you know everything from fixing vehicles to stitching wounds, you’ll benefit from other people and they from you.

  4. Rethink your training.

    What would it be like to experience a terrorist attack in your city? What is it like when a flood comes? What happens in a gunfight? The question is, do you really know, or do you think you know? Are you basing your training on what you think will happen instead of what really takes place in any given scenario?

    This is important. The short answer to this is that unless you have experienced it yourself, you will not understand one hundred percent what can happen. This is not to say you cannot educate yourself sufficiently to adequately handle a given situation. The pit fall comes with gleaning information and training practices that are not based upon reality. Often we see a certain method of doing something in response to a particular crisis, but is it correct?

    An example is the tactical or combat world of training. There are many different ideas about how to do essentially the same things, and some are better than others. Some methods were developed for a specific situation and location; these methods were never meant to become a standard practice, yet they have become so simply because an elite group somewhere employed it for a particular situation, and it has since gained popularity beyond its intended application.

    For instance, some training programs for stopping active shooter situations put an emphasis on team movement, such as maneuvering through a building with a four man team. The problem with this is, based on what we know about active shooter scenarios, the likelihood of gathering four officers to respond to an in-progress shooter is slim to none in a time frame that would even be effective. Some departments may not even have four people working at one time. Since this is the reality for many communities, it would serve much better to train individual officers to be best equipped to operate as a one man response, or maybe two if you were fortunate. This is how more lives could be saved: an immediate response by a person trained to operate in that manner. It does nothing for the officer to train as part of a four or five man team when it’s very unlikely he will actually do this. Team movement and tactics are very useful and much preferred for various applications, but it’s not an across the board solution. To present it as such is a detrimental training practice.

    The lesson to take away here is that you need to train for reality. What really happens in scenario “A”? Can you and some training buddies duplicate a part of the scenario to see what actually happens? If not, can you simulate it with enough accuracy to be a valid training tool? Lastly, if neither is feasible, whom can we learn from who has experienced it?

  5. There is no 911.

    If you live in the city, you are familiar with the police department that operates within that community. If you live out in the country, your local law enforcement is likely to be the Sheriff’s office. However, I doubt you have the opportunity to observe most of the things or types of situations law enforcement deals with day to day. This is not a bad thing; we pay these guys to handle this kind of thing so we don’t have to. That’s good, because you have better things to do, like make money, take care of your family, buy groceries, or whatever. Since there is much that most people never get to see, I think it is hard at times for people to understand some facts about law enforcement, crime, or other situations, and the balance between them.

    Everything you see cops doing and a lot more you don’t makes up the “normal” call or crime volume in your community. The important thing to understand is that your local law enforcement agency is staffed and equipped to handle only this “normal” level or amount of crime. If your area experiences a major crisis event, the need for police intervention will balloon far beyond the usual. There will not be enough people and resources to meet the need. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but the chances of the cops showing up when you call during a major crisis situation is slim to none. This is compounded by the fact that some cities and communities have a shortage in this area even at a “normal level”. Merely keeping the general peace is likely to be a tall order just by itself.

    What does this mean for you? You are responsible for your own safety and those who are in your care. This is where your neighborhood network becomes invaluable. Planning and preparation will serve you well, and part of this is knowing in advance what you will likely be facing.