The Mythical Group Retreat: Survival Preparations are Not Like Car Detailing

The mainstream media has recently featured many articles about multi-millionaires buying opulent shelter spaces marketed by companies like The Survival Condo Project and Terra Vivos Reportedly, these swank leased shelter spaces are being gobbled up by the rich and famous. (Important Caveat: Those are just two well-publicized examples among many similar ventures, and I’m not criticizing them, per se. I have serious doubts about the efficacy of all such leased retreat space ventures, if and when things fall apart.) Survival preparations are not like buying a service, such as car detailing or house painting. You can’t just “have it done” by someone else and expect to actually survive a major disaster to see full restoration of normal day-to-day life. You need to learn these skills for yourself. You need to construct things for yourself, tailor them to your own family’s particular needs, and then maintain them yourself. The most crucial skills can’t be learned by just reading a book or by watching a video. You need to truly learn these tasks by performing them and, in some cases, developing the muscle memory to match. Unless you are willing to get your hands dirty and honestly learn by doing, then you … Continue reading

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Letter Re: My Family Preparedness Plan, by R.S.

Hugh, The best books I have read concerning an EMP are Lights Out by Ted Koppel and Collapse You’re On Your Own by Kay Mahoney. One is fiction, and one nonfiction tells us all we need to know about a terrible event. The first book examines the reality of our delicate electronic infrastructure and how easily it can be shut down. The second book tells the story of the aftermath of an EMP on regular, small town folks, like us, and how we might handle the calamity. I like my electricity and the comforts it provides to me and my family, but I also know our grid is vulnerable in many ways. So, get prepared for no electricity and enjoy the today. – T.M. o o o Hugh, I interviewed Dr. Peter Vincent Pry on my radio show. Dr. Pry is the head of The Commission to Assess EMP. He stated that when it came to testing motor vehicles, they were mandated to “hold back” on the strength of the pulse the vehicles were subjected to, for budgetary reasons. They were further told to do this so the test vehicles would suffer minimal damage, thus making them easy to repair … Continue reading

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My Family Preparedness Plan- Part 1, by R.S.

We live in an uncertain world. Riots have popped up in cities across the United States under the guise of righteous protests of elections or officer-involved shootings. Terrorists have taken to the streets in attacks both large and small. Hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes have wiped out entire cities. Our economy is under siege from within and without. Ebola, Zika, West Nile, and H1N1 have dominated headlines, though admittedly done little damage. The ability and precedent for grid failure are ever present. And finally, and maybe most nefariously, our very own government waits in the wings for any one of these events to transpire with devious plans already devised for containment of the populace through martial law. Each of these scenarios presents unique challenges. While much is made of what to do in advance of any of these events (and rightly so), ultimate survival could depend on what you do in the minutes, hours, and days immediately following an event. I originally wrote this guide for my family and close personal friends. Many of them have little understanding of the scenarios discussed. My hope was to bring some awareness to the issues in hope that, should an event transpire, they would … Continue reading

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Preparing for Cyber Warfare- Part 2, by Northwoods Prepper

One advantage that we all now have in addressing a cyber attack is awareness. During heightened tensions with other countries, you will be aware of the potential risk that these devices may pose and utilize your electronic equipment sparingly. Knowledge is power. Defensive measures have two considerations. The first thing to ask is, how should I protect myself. The second is, how should I ensure my equipment and my property is not causing damage to my country or the general population. The best defense is to eliminate dependency. Minimizing or reducing our need for electronic devices is the most practical and cost effective way to mitigate this risk. For me (and I assume most of you as well, since you are reading a blog site), these modern tools provide advantages that allow us to produce, perform, and recreate easier and faster and provide greater returns for the effort. I know I utilize my computers for work and play and do not look forward to a day where I may have to give them up. Still, it should be strongly considered, and minimizing devices as much as possible provides protection. If you have such devices, you may be relying on your … Continue reading

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Preparing for Cyber Warfare- Part 1, by Northwoods Prepper

As a regular follower of this blog, I, and as I imagine most readers, are very familiar with the results of an EMP. This is one of the most discussed topics in the survivalist blogosphere, for good reason. Electricity brings all of us a much easier life, and to prepare for the loss of such is difficult both physically and mentally, not to mention costly. With my electronic devices, those that I continue to use daily, my preparations lie between letting them become paper weights with the effects of an EMP to properly protecting those that are of value and having back-up copies of important documents (electronically and physically). From my understanding of an EMP or a similar event, like a strong solar flare, my limited preparations on this front should protect my key data with some devices reverting to expensively purchased junk. What I had failed to take into consideration is the breakout of cyber warfare. An overview of the nature of cyber warfare is warranted, although before I start I would like to say my knowledge of such is limited. The majority of my previous knowledge came from corporate cyber attacks. However, I just finished reading Richard Clarke’s … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Heavy Snowfall in Oregon, Idaho, Alaska is Causing Buildings to Collapse

JWR,It’s a REAL mess here on the Idaho-Oregon border. We have had something like 36″ of snow in the valley since the snowfall began a month ago or so. The problem is that, unlike in previous years, the sun does not come out to warm up the air and melt the snowfall after each passing storm. It has just been accumulating and accumulating. Then we either get a warm up putting a crust on the snow-top or we get rain on top, and then it freezes. My metal roof had at least 24″ of snow and ice on it last week. It has a strata of snowfall history with each slice one took out of it. Last Thursday we got an additional 8-10 inches of snowfall in the Western Treasure Valley. That is about 50 miles from the Boise Valley. The city of Weiser got hammered big time. We have lost something like 150 structures (not carports, et cetera) but major structures in this region. Weiser lost its only real food store for the 5000 people there, and they have had to make major changes in their shopping habits. Most drive to Payette or Ontario Oregon some 20 miles to … Continue reading

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Hurricane Preparedness Experience- Part 4, by N.K.

I recommend more gas cans so you’re not constantly refilling the same two. I won’t say how many NATO cans I now have, but I won’t have that problem again. If you get NATO cans to avoid the spillage common with now-mandated CARB cans, get several extra NATO vented spouts; nothing else fits them. An assortment of funnels is handy, too. For vehicle filling, extend the NATO spouts with 1/2” steel or brass press-on nipples (the galvanized steel is less expensive and works fine and I’d avoid the plastic versions) from Lowe’s plumbing department and about 16” of 5/8” ID / 3/4” OD clear plastic tubing. The tubing fits perfectly into unleaded gasoline filler necks and extends the reach of the spout for different vehicles. I secured the nipple-to-spout and nipple-to-tubing connections with a wrap of steel safety wire, tightly twisted. It’s pretty secure without it, but the last thing I need is the spout extension coming loose unnoticed and sliding into the filler neck. I equipped every NATO spout I have with the extension. It’s a $3 fix, and I don’t have to look for the right spout to fit a vehicle; they’re all the right spout. A bug-out … Continue reading

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Hurricane Preparedness Experience- Part 3, by N.K.

Cooking was interesting. I had a propane gas grill with two spare 20-lb cylinders, a dual-fuel Coleman camp stove, a couple of single-burner butane units, and the ability to build a fire in the backyard. The gas grill got used, because it was easiest. It did take a couple of days to learn how to cook more than simple camping meals on it. We have an old style coffee percolator for camping, and getting the heat to it correctly on the grill took some learning. Cooking on the grill was something we should have practiced before we needed it. A tip: The standard size propane tank for grills holds 20 lbs of propane, which is about 4½ gallons. Many exchange tanks are filled only to 15 lbs; it’s faster and easier to swap out an empty tank for a filled one, but I’ve found it less expensive to take the time to get them refilled to the full 20 lbs rather than exchanged for one with 25% less propane. The cost is nearly the same; you’re paying more for the convenience of a quick exchange. So, buying an empty spare tank for about $45 and refilling it will pay for … Continue reading

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Hurricane Preparedness Experience- Part 2, by N.K.

I had drinking water because my subdivision was on the county water system which never went down, nor was there any boil water alert for our area. Part of the reason for this was the emergency planning done by county government to ensure water got delivered at full volume and pressure to fire hydrants during weather emergencies, and there’s backup power for pumps to accomplish this. Since hydrants and houses are on the same system, we coasted on local government’s emergency preps. Life and planning really is different in hurricane country. If water ran short, I had some options. Half the houses in my neighborhood had swimming pools, so a supply of buckets could provide toilet flushing water. Drinking and cooking water was another story. (Pool water plus filtration by something like a Berkey system could produce drinking water, especially if aeration was performed to reduce chlorine content.) I always kept several cases of bottled water on hand, usually 6-8 cases each with 15 one-liter bottles; however, that would go quickly in the heat, especially when also used for cooking and dish washing. I quickly added disposable plates, cups, and utensils to my preps. Because Florida is flat, gravity flow … Continue reading

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Hurricane Preparedness Experience- Part 1, by N.K.

S.G.’s recent observations about living through hurricane Matthew is well presented information. If I may, I’d like to contribute my experiences with hurricanes Charlie, Frances, and Jean in Central Florida during 2004. Charlie made landfall in southwest Florida the afternoon of Friday August 13, 2004, coming ashore at Punta Gorda in Charlotte Bay as a strong category 4 with 145 mph winds. After devastating that area, it rapidly traveled diagonally across the state eventually impacting Kissimmee and Orlando in Central Florida before heading up the Atlantic coast. Orlando International Airport recorded winds of 105-110 mph, just below the 111 mph of a category 3 storm, and Sanford International Airport logged  winds of 96 mph. Amateur weather buffs in Osceola County (Kissimmee and St. Cloud)  recorded wind speeds 10-20 miles higher. Fortunately, Charlie was a fast mover so the high winds did not slowly chew up houses by lingering over any particular spot. My neighborhood lost power at 9:15 PM Friday, and it was restored around midday on Thursday the 19th. Some areas did not have electricity restored for another two weeks; it depended on how many trees had come down and impacted power lines. Central Florida had not seen a … Continue reading

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Guest Article: A Primer on Tactical Intelligence Collection, by Samuel Culper

Tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires are just three examples of localized and very personal emergency events that we saw last year, and they illustrate the devastation by an event for which there is immediate early warning. We can be alerted to a tornado warning and seek cover. We can vacate our homes in case of flooding or an approaching wildfire. As we deal in the likelihood of SHTF scenarios, the likelihood of natural crisis events is 100%. However, on a regional or national scale, we’re looking at more unpredictable events for which there is little to no early warning: an electromagnetic pulse, or perhaps a cyber or physical attack on critical infrastructure, or a financial or monetary breakdown that plunges millions into a very real emergency scenario. A cyber attack on the New York Stock Exchange will have no direct effect on your safety, but the second- and third-order effects will be felt on every level and generate threats to your community. So what we should be preparing for is not the cyber attack itself but for the follow-on effects of that cyber attack that will affect your community. Regardless of the event, we need to be able to collect information … Continue reading

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Letter: Tor Software Vulnerability

HJL, A recent article detailed the FBI using secret software to exploit vulnerability in the Tor Browser. The government set up a child porn site in the dark web and nabbed some folks that were using Tor. Agents used a “Network Investigative Tool,” or NIT to identify information from people who logged into the porn site. This is found in an article in the Seattle Times paper of Dec. 14th. The government refuses to detail the workings of the secret software. – D.C. JWR Replies: The editors of SurvivalBlog certainly don’t condone child pornography, but the case that you cite provides a good illustrative teaching point. Anyone who believes that anything they do via the Internet is “private” is fooling themselves. Even if someone uses both Tor and VPN, there is still the risk that law enforcement or intelligence agencies could uncover their location and identity. Encrypted e-mail is similarly at risk. This recent case in Washington should be a lesson for preppers. Illegal activities, or even legal activities that might be deemed illegal at some future date, should never be discussed via e-mail. Nothing on the Internet is either safe or secure. There is no such thing as a … Continue reading

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