The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”.

California Fire

The Thomas fire has scorched 273,400 acres, or about 427 square miles of coastal foothills and national forest. This makes it the largest wildfire in California History and it is still going strong with only 65% containment. I’ve noticed some confusion over the term “containment” in the past. It doesn’t mean the fire is under control. It is a term that means firefighters have been able to place a firebreak around it’s perimeter. That firebreak can be anything from a 100 yard wide bulldozed separation to a couple shovel fulls wide. It can also just be a section of already burned land. It just depends on how large that section of fire is and the what the fire conditions are. The fire break is often no bigger than necessary. 65% containment means that there is a firebreak around 65% of the perimeter of the fire.

Fleeing Dragons

Speaking of wildfires, are you prepared for a possible wildfire in your area? If you live in a city, are you prepared for a large city fire? Kevin Reeve, of onPoint Tactical has prepared a short article on being prepared to deal with urban evacuations due to fire conditions. It is short and worth a read. With Tolkien as one of my favorite authors, his use of Tolkien’s quote on dragons caught my eye: “It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”


After the U.S. got a nice Christmas present in the form of the tax overhaul that finally passed congress, the EU has expressed concern that it will unfairly incentivize companies to move to the U.S. The thinking is that the bill makes a break with global “fair-taxation” rules and represents a thinly disguised trade war. I guess the EU’s version of “fair” means that companies prefer them over U.S. locations. Reader D.S. responded well: “Bring it!”

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The U.S. vetoed a U.N. security counsel resolution that condemned the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli Capital and the promise to move the U.S. Embassy there. This marked the first time since 2011 that the U.S. has exercised it’s veto power. The response by the U.N. was to pass a resolution in the General Assembly condemning the move. Only nine nations voted with the U.S. with about 30 abstaining. The U.S. ambassador, Nikki Haley, informed the U.S. prior to the vote that the U.S. would be taking names with Trump reiterating that nations voting against the U.S. would lose their funding from the U.S. Sweden claims that we are blackmailing other nations. While listening to Haley deliver the speech, I almost expected “kicking butt” to follow the “taking names” statement. I’m with Ben Shapiro on this one. Kick the U.N. out of the U.S. and turn the compound into an asylum for all those who are seeking refuge from the U.N.’s sorry decisions. Thanks to D.S. for the link.

Electronic Spying

There are suspicions that your smartphone is being used to spy on you again. Reader G.G. sent in this article profiling some “strange coincidents”. The author has had several experiences where conversations and photos taken have been closely followed by ads that are eerily similar to the subjecdt of the conversations. There is no proof that this is being done, however the technology exists and the only thing keeping it from being done is the threat of legal action from users. We already have incidents where companies and app designers have used personal data in ways they shouldn’t so this definitely deserves some further investigation. Better yet, ditch the smartphone.

High Altitude Survival

Reader G.G. suggested this interesting article on High-Altitude Mountain Survival. The challenges of high altitude can be quite daunting: extreme cold air temperatures, low air pressure, lack of shelter, intense solar radiation, altitude sickness among others. Even if you never plan on hiking or traveling over such terrain, you should familiarize yourself with critical survival skills and practice them. The 1972 crash of Uruguayan Flight 571 in the high Andes mountains comes to mind.

4000 Pound Weapons

You never know when your life will be threatened and it really does pay to stay alert to impending threats. Reader P.S. sent in this article about a car ramming into pedestrians in Melbourne Australia. Nineteen people were injured and it doesn’t even seem to be an intentional incident. The driver has no known associations with terrorist groups, but does have a history of drug use and mental health issues. This being Austrailia, we are wondering if there will now be calls to outlaw cars since so many people can be injured at once. Perhaps we’ll start with more intensive background checks before you can obtain a drivers license?

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Please send your news tips to HJL. (Either via e-mail of via ourContact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who watch news that is important to them. Due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” news. We often “get the scoop” on news that is most likely ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. Fleeing Dragons. I did some research last year on common traits in natural disasters, and one of the most frequently occurring is the loss of cell phone communications due to loss of power, overloading or destruction of cell towers. Some of the loss of life in the Gatlinburg fires this time last year, can be attributed to loss of communications between the Emergency Operations Center in Gatlinburg and the State EOC in Nashville. The Gatlinburg EOC requested a reverse 911 system call be made to all Gatlinburg numbers telling them to evacuate. The State EOC had questions about the call, but couldn’t reach the Emergency Manager in Gatlinburg, so didn’t execute the call (which might not have worked anyway due to overloading of the circuits). Bottom Line: encourage your Emergency Managers to have multiple and redundant communications capabilities, cell phone, internet, VHF radio, HF radio, etc. to ensure emergency communications. The Tennessee State Guard had a mobile HF radio team an hour away, and had reported readiness to move. But by the time Gatlinburg realized they couldn’t communicate, they couldn’t communicate to the HF team either. My recommendation is to stand up redundant comms before you need them.

    1. Steve- in our county, the EM Coordinator has access to Cell reverse 911. We also have separate towers for SMS. as well as one HF rig as a backup. (Folks can usually sign up for these emergency service notices to be sent to their cell phones.) We also have an old fashion phone tree and then the normal round of notices delivered personally, potentially by volunteers. The ICS system to coordinate EM Services through multiple jurisdictions or departments is managed through the internet <— this is definitely a potential choke point. Past that it is phone calls, Radio and hand delivered notes if a large scale Emergency were to happen that knocked out internet and cell phones both.

  2. Foremost among the many problems that can compromise a survivor’s ability to return to safety are medical problems resulting from parachute descent and landing, extreme climates, ground combat, evasion, and illnesses contracted in captivity.

    Many evaders and survivors have reported difficulty in treating injuries and illness due to the lack of training and medical supplies. For some, this led to capture or surrender.

    Survivors have related feeling of apathy and helplessness because they could not treat themselves in this environment. The ability to treat themselves increased their morale and cohesion and aided in their survival and eventual return to friendly forces.

    One man with a fair amount of basic medical knowledge can make a difference in the lives of many. Without qualified medical personnel available, it is you who must know what to do to stay alive.

    So, if you decide where to live, choose a safe place. – top 5 safest places for life.

  3. We are reading “My Thailand Calling” on our e-reader device and find it very excellent. It would be of interest to anyone who is concerned with survival in societal collapse.

  4. It will be interesting to see if the US follows through with their threats to the UN. I for one would like to see us out of the UN and their building moved to Brussels.

    1. There is one, and only one, reason to stay in the UN. That would be the VETO seat on the Security Council. We don’t use that veto often enough.

      However, there is no reason to keep being the largest funds provider of this foul organization. And for the life of me, I can’t find that phrase or amendment in the US Constitution that would allow for our funding of any other country. Someone please show me where the States granted the authority to the government of the United States, to spend American blood, the blood of our citizens, or American treasure, the wealth of our citizens, in defense of, or in charity to, any state that is not one of THESE united States of America. The treaty making power doesn’t really serve that purpose, since a treaty can not be used to amend, or circumvent, our Constitution as written.

  5. I am outraged by this weapon of mass destruction in the hands of common citizens. No one needs a weapon capable of injuring 19 people at once. And I am particularly outraged by the silencer (muffler) placed on this stealth WMD such that the potential victims can not even hear it and get out of the way. The constitution never imagined this WMD of mass transportation and we don’t need anything more powerful than a tricycle to get to work. Save the world and ban all cars and trucks (except the government cars and trucks of course).

    1. Nothing is to absurd for the left/Communist so your idea will probably be implemented sometime in the future… Anything to make the individual more independent must be banned…

      1. We are not too many years away from driver-less cars. How many more years after that will it be before manual driving on public roads is illegal?Four our “safety,” of course.

  6. One night my son asked why golfers had so many different types of clubs. I’ve never golfed in my life, and never browsed for anything golf-related on my phone; my son thought of it only because he’d seen a bag of clubs earlier that day. I’ve turned off my phone’s Assistant software, and anything else I know of that tries to listen in on normal life, yet the next morning my phone presented me with all sorts of ads for new clubs, golf apparel, and the like. Just a coincidence, right?

  7. The UN is a farce and always has been. As President Trump said when making his announcement concerning moving the embassy, we are just acknowledging reality. Israel is a sovereign nation as is the US. we are just respecting their decisions.

    The US should absolutely get out of the UN and kick the lot of them off US soil. If these globalist nations think it is so great, them they should foot the bill.

    I also looked with great interest as to who voted for the resolution. Our allies S. Korea, Japan, UK, Etc., need to look elsewhere the next time they need our military help bailing out their rear ends.

  8. “There are suspicions that your smartphone is being used to spy on you again.”

    I don’t comment around here much at all but this statement made burst out laughing. Thanks, I needed that. I would only add one question; “Golly, what was your first clue, that mobile tracking and recording device you constantly have in your hand?”

  9. And don’t forget, NEVER, I mean never, put that piece of garbage on your nightstand. Aside of your privacy being invaded, having a cell phone that close to your head is not healthy. My mother in law is hoping for an EMP.

    1. Do the same health issues hold for an iPod? I listen to the radio on my iPod to fall asleep. I keep it under my pillow so my husband isn’t bothered by it so it is nearly against my ear. Just wondering……

  10. As far as electronic spying goes here’s my story. I went to Lowes and bought a roll of barbed wire and payed with my VISA card and then returned home. As soon as I got home I fired up my computer and there it was, an add from a barbed wire supplier. Boy that was fast!

  11. To all the people who are dealing with natural disasters during the holidays I wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Hanika, Happy Holidays,and Peace!
    As much as I partially agree with you I Loathe the U socialist fascist N and I sure as He@@ do not trust Belgium home of worst socialist and worser globalist communist socialist government parties!
    We did not heed the lesson of history, the League of Nations did not work why in the world did our employees ( our elected officials) agree to start the U socialist fascist N, ooh I remember it had something to do with another socialist, I mean democrat, Woodrow Wilson. What a shame, I mean sham!
    Charles K.:
    I agree with you sir! The U.S. should defund all nations not able to pay there own way in the U socialist fascist N. These funds would make a nice, albeit small, dent in our national debt!
    Thanx for letting me vent ya’ll.
    Merry Christmas ya’ll!

  12. It does seem the Melbourne crash was intentional. The government in these Liberal countries like to blame mental health instead of calling them Jihadis.

    “Saeed Noori, a former Afghan refugee and now Australia citizen, was charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of conduct endangering life after being formally interviewed by police on Saturday.

    Noori, a 32-year-old from Heidelberg West reportedly made comments about Allah and Asio in the lead-up to his interview with police.

    He allegedly made “utterances” to police about voices, dreams and the “poor treatment of Muslims” to officers in hospital on Thursday night, as well as comments about Australia’s top security body and Allah.”

  13. RE: wildfire, Living near fire lines in the Columbia gorge taught me quite a bit this summer. After the fire, I was sweeping the scorched twigs off of my roof and realized how vulnerable rain gutters are! Fir needles and leaves are very flammable, clean your gutters before fire season! I A defensible space is no joke, and I have a bit of work to do there yet. My backpack sprayer came in handy for drifting embers that landed on the property. Embers can travel miles! Currently, tree branches that I haven’t done yet are being trimmed to at least eight feet off the ground.

  14. Fires, Rural or Urban: Homes will not burn when a sheet is hung from the edge of the roof and kept wet. It’s like boiling water in a paper cup. People with swimming pools or a water reservoir could set up a sprinkler system. What am I not seeing?

    1. Electricity and water pressure to keep water flowing during the fire. Also, the authorities tend to get overzealous in their evacuations. Even a small ember can cause a house fire if no one is there to monitor the situation. At times, the wall of fire is so great (especially if you have not created a defensible space around your home) that a wet sheet is irrelevant when the flame front reaches your home.

  15. Seems like the biggest obstacles would be the rules for evacuation and the clearing of brush. I bet the concrete home builders are doing a great business. The concrete prefabs look interesting.

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