When Push Comes to Shotgun: Survival in the Suburbs, by Michael K.

To anyone who swatches the news or opens up an internet browser from time to time, it’s exceedingly clear that the world is becoming an extremely dangerous place.  From the abstract threats such as global economic collapse or pandemic to the more concrete ideas of natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks and the like, it’s obvious that preparedness isn’t just something to think about occasionally, it’s an absolute necessity.  Yet, with our feet firmly planted in the middle class, my wife and I don’t exactly have the money to go out and build the fortified bunker of our dreams for the day …




Letter Re: Evacuating Quickly to Escape Wildfires

JWR: As a former California Department of Forestry (C.D.F. which is now Cal-Fire) wild land firefighter I would like to give some professional advice to persons living in wildfire prone urban interface locations.  The 100 foot clearance required is really a necessity in defending your retreat.  If infrastructure is still up, when told to evacuate, GET OUT ! From a roadway, I once had to listen to the screams of a woman who burned to death because she refused to evacuate her home.  It is a haunting memory. Have an advance plan for safety zones and escape routes.  A safety zone …




Letter Re: Evacuating Quickly to Escape Wildfires

James, There is much conversation about the desirability of moving to a rural retreat location.  Much has been written on your site about moving to moving to the American Redoubt.  But how many people really consider the drastic changes in their lifestyle when moving out of the city to a rural location?  Consider one drastic change:  fire protection.  People living in cities with asphalt streets, fire hydrants, professionally staffed fire stations, and minimal response times may not understand the change to living in a rural area with fire protection offered by volunteer departments.  I have lived in rural areas for …




Letter Re: Your Earthquake Audit

Mr. Rawles: The recent article about conducting a home earthquake audit reminds me of a preparedness step that I took: A little over a year ago I saw an automatic gas shutoff valve displayed at a professional plumbing store. After looking in the cutaway demonstration  valve , I inquired about the cost of the valve, which was around $100. I have kept a wrench next to the gas meter for years, but last year I had to commute 60  miles  away for school. Now with a new prepper mentality  , I wondered what would happen if a big quake did …




Aloe Vera, My Survival Companion, by Carol F.

I grew up in the low desert areas of Arizona:  Douglas, Wilcox, and Mesa.   Later, living near Flagstaff, I began keeping Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) in my kitchen.  In the low desert, Aloe grows in medians and desert yards; almost weed – like.  It is a succulent so it does not need much water.  Most of its moisture comes from any available humidity.  It has a cactus look without thorns, and is a welcome green in a harsh country.  A bonus is the beautiful tiny orange-yellow lily flower that fits with the easy lifestyle of a desert landscape.   Pictures and …




Two Letters Re: Fire Protection 101

Dear Mr Rawles, In regard to the article by Firefighter Charles on fire protection, I imagine (and, indeed hope) that I won’t be the only person who suggests a qualifier to the advice on what to do with a fire in a cooking pan.  My understanding is that one should NEVER put water on a pan which holds oil or fat, because the resulting explosive burst of steam and fat will leave anyone attempting the exercise with extensive, serious burns. I realize that Firefighter Charles dealt with grease fires earlier in the same paragraph, but wondered if it might be …




Fire Protection 101, by Firefighter Charles

Fire protection is very important for the home.  Keeping protection around your home from fire is a very important practice.  Too many homes a year are destroyed to fires.  Too many people die each year from fire related deaths (Note: Most people die from smoke inhalation not the heat of the fire).  You should learn ways on how to prevent fires and learn method on how to fight fires.  Preventing fire will lessen your chance of a fire but learning how to fight a fire will lessen the damage to your home and keep your family alive.       Understanding The …




Letter Re: Multiple Advantages of ICF Construction

Jim: I am considering using Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) for building my next house/retreat back in the United States  for when I feel that it is not longer safe to live abroad.    For a relatively small incremental cost in a new home (3-5%), you have disaster proof, fire resistant, fortified home. I found this brochure (in PDF) that describes some of the advantages of ICF construction.   Best Regards, – AmEx (American Expatriate)




An Army Veteran’s Thoughts on Camouflage, by H.R.

In case of TEOTWAWKI, being successful in the art of camouflaging will be a serious matter. It will be necessary for many aspects of life to include; movement, reconnaissance, and ambush. Camouflaging is a multi-tiered animal, including camouflaging your skin, your clothing, your gear, and your weapon. I spent six years in the army as an Infantryman. As a result I personally have spent 26 months of my life in Iraq, and I have been on well over 500 combat patrols: to include raids and ambushes of all kinds. Camouflaging of your outfit or uniform begins with the construction of …




Building a Fire in a Post-Collapse World, by Entropy

Recently (based on a suggestion by a SurvivalBlog reader) I began a Meetup Group for Emergency Preparedness.  One of the Meetup events that I’m soon to host is entitled “To Build a Fire”.  Hosting this Meetup which I originally conceived as simply a fire building class has forced me to think logically about tactical fire building in a WTSHTF scenario where you are forced to build a fire for survival purposes.  I’ve synthesized these ideas into this article. By “tactical” what I mean is “low observability” because technically no true definition of tactical perfectly fits this discussion.  However people should …




Guest Article: To Build a Fire, by Bob A.

Okay, I admit it, I’m a Prepper.  The first time I read the Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared”, I was hooked.  “Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, “Why, for any old thing.” said Baden-Powell.  My real awakening with the Boy Scout Handbook was my first introduction to fire.  Learning to make a basic campfire, a cook fire, bonfire and camp-fire television were the first tastes of what would prepare me for the future. I camped, earned merit badges and worked my way to First Class and Patrol leader all the while putting an end …




Three Letters Re: Turning One Town’s Junk Into This Man’s Treasure

James: That was an excellent article by A. Arizonan! As a former newspaper deliverer (rural route in the American Redoubt), I would like to add that there are benefits to delivering or subscribing to newspapers. As a deliverer who serviced home customers and coin-op boxes, I could amass “extra” or “unsold” paper to the tune of about 300 to 500 pounds a month. To this day I still have about 2000 pounds in storage. I’d have more but I can’t properly store any more. The added benefit of my former route was that I got to meet a lot of …




Odds And Ends That You Won’t Want To Be Without, by Sonny Jim

I believe in having all the “big” things, to prepare for the possible breakdown of civil society.   I have a large home outside of a small mid-west town, and expect 12 people to arrive to hunker down, if things do fall apart.  I need to be able to feed and supply of them, perhaps for years. So I have 1,200 gallons of Kerosene.  This is intended for heating the home for 3 winters, and I have 3 Kerosene heaters to do the job.  The Kerosene is stored in in 3 large 330 gallon plastic totes, half buried in my back …




Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting, by Ron B.

INTRODUCTION I began work in Toronto on August 1, 2003.  The lights went out three weeks later.  The entire Northeast was dark for several days. The company had provided us with three months of free housing.  By my standards it was quite posh ¾ pool privileges, chandeliers, weekly maid service.  But we knew nobody, had little food in the cupboard, and no local currency.  (Then again the cash registers didn’t work anyway.)  When the sun went down it got dark and stayed dark.  We had no light of any kind.  Granted, the two huge candlesticks on the mantle were a …




Letter Re: Tire Bale Bastions and Houses?

Hi, Doing some research on earth domes and I’m seeing a new trend, tire bales. These are 5 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 2.5 feet tall. They weigh 2,000 pounds apiece. They are environmentally friendly, being sold for $25-35 a unit plus shipping. I’m planning on using them around the houses perimeter as I feel they are much less expensive and more durable than a masonry wall. Covered in concrete or adobe they won’t be an aesthetic issue either. I was wondering what your opinion of them would be as a ballistic barrier/wall? Keep up the great work. – …