Category Archives: Survival

A Crash Course in Preparedness – Week 2 – Medicine, Sanitation, and Surviving Disaster Diseases

During a disaster situation, sufficient medical preparation and solid first aid knowledge is critical to the success of survival.  No matter how strong you are, you can be brought down by a tiny germ or virus.   If you are sick, your family or community will have to spend extra time, energy and supplies to look after you.

This is the 2nd article in the series.  If you missed the first one, click here.

(The following paragraph is taken from A Crash Course in Preparedness – Week 2)

 

Welcome back to week 2 in our Crash Course into Preparedness. Last week we discussed the basics of survival and gear needed for a short-lived event. One of the comments from last week’s class mentioned that it isn’t hard to prepare, you just have to start. I couldn’t agree more! My only addition I would make to this comment is in order to start you must prioritize your needs and know what you’re planning for. This week, we are taking the same concept from last week – prioritizing, planning and preparing to another facet of disaster planning and highlighting the more dirty side of preparedness – medical and sanitation needs.

Some of the greatest threats in an emergency occur after the disaster. Lack of accessible clean water following major disasters can quickly escalate and create secondary problems in a post SHTF situation. Additionally, those unsanitary conditions can exacerbate the spreading of diseases, infections and health risks. In this preparedness course, we will cover the most common issues that occur following a disaster that relates to hygiene, sanitary and medical condition.

Sanitation, good hygiene, and medical preparedness all go hand-in-hand. But as you will see after reading this guide, it takes a lot of planning and a lot of preparation. Simply put, there are many wrong turns a person could take in the aftermath of a storm and their health could suffer as a result. Therefore it is paramount that you understand the magnitude of these types of disasters and how to avoid them. As Ready Nutrition writer, Jeremiah Johnson noted in a recent article, “hygiene protects you from germs and diseases, as well as preventing the body from falling apart.” In the aftermath of disasters, this needs to stay at the forefront of our priorities.

In this week’s course, I have compiled lists of preparedness items you may need for these types of disasters, but in no way is this list comprehensive. There is always some other items that someone will need. Therefore, remember to prioritize your household’s needs! If someone in your home has a preexisting condition – prepare for that. If someone in the household has mobility issues – make sure they have supplies to help them get around, or if someone has a suppressed immune system – prepare accordingly.

We have a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of prepper lists to review, so let’s get started.

Why your water sources become contaminated after a disaster and why you should avoid them

Water is one of the most necessary elements to sustain life, but when that water is dirty, it can quickly become one of the most dangerous. Following a disaster, municipal water lines will more than likely be damaged and can become contaminated with sewage, chemicals and, in particular, may also contain a number of pathogens that can cause illness. These contaminated waters harbor bacteria, different viruses, and fungi – all of which can make people very sick.

Diseases can be present in the water. Most notably, cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and Leptospirosis. If massive flooding occurs in the area and homes are damaged as a result, mold could also pose a serious health problem and exacerbate asthma, allergies, or other respiratory diseases like COPD. Mold can appear in as little as 24 to 48 hours after flood waters recede. Experts suggest not to touch it. Wear rubber gloves, wear a mask when handling it and if you are in a dwelling where there is mold, you should leave.

Those who have open wounds or rashes should also avoid the flood waters as they can quickly become infected. If the water lines are damaged, or if the damage is suspected, do not use municipal water sources for cleaning or drinking. Likewise, throw out any food that has come in contact with contaminated water.  Avoiding contaminated water is your best bet, but at times unavoidable. Maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene will ensure your overall health and safety.

Fly infestations also pose a problem, and if the waste is left out in the open, then it will only lead to the susceptibility of epidemics such as Hepatitis A, cholera, typhoid or diphtheria. Having a means dispersing of human waste will ensure that in times of disaster, your family and neighbors will stay healthy.

As well, mosquitoes are notorious for harboring diseases. Some of which are:

  • Dengue
  • West Nile
  • Zika
  • Chikungunya
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • La Crosse Encephalitis

As well as a few others that mainly affect animals:

  • Western Equine Encephalitis
  • Dog Heartworm

So it’s important for homeowners in disaster affected regions to take certain measures to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes. This requires keeping an eye out for things on your property that might contain even the smallest puddles of water. As well, experts are recommending that homeowners drain pools and if you see mosquitoes in larger areas of standing water to alert authorities.

Make sure you clear any trash or debris in your yards such as tires or cans and don’t leave any water out in flower pots or water bowls. It’s also a good idea to secure any leaky pipes you might have outside of your home, and clear out any leaves in your gutters. In some cases, you may need to fill or drain spots that tend to collect water on your property.  As an added defense, build traps that will cull the local mosquito population.

If you are cleaning your home after a flood, make sure you follow these steps from the EPA on flood-related cleaning.


Sanitation

No one really wants to discuss sanitation because it’s… well, an unpleasant and dirty subject. However, it is one of the most important areas to focus on when preparing for a disaster.

Most disasters cause sanitation nightmares simply because following a disaster, there is a lack of sanitation facilities or water lines have been damaged or crossed with sewage lines. This can bring on serious health risks.

Here are a couple of necessary facts you need to keep in mind.

  • In the aftermath of a disaster where water sources are compromised, people within a 50-mile radius could be adversely impacted by illness and disease just if one person handled the trash improperly. Let that sink in.
  • If the you-know-what has hit the fan, you must be aware that more people die after a disaster due to poor sanitation than from the disaster itself. This is due to individuals not knowing where or how to properly expel waste.
  • Infectious diseases from contaminated water can make certain groups very vulnerable – the very young, the elderly and people suffering from diseases that lower their immune resistance.

How to prepare for sanitation disruptions

When the trash cannot be picked up, it must be burned or buried by you; however, municipalities cannot risk contamination to the water source or soil from people who incorrectly bury their debris, so it is important to know how to properly dispose of your waste products and stay clean, as well. Typically, city officials will provide information on this after a disaster occurs.

One of your first lines of defense is to keep hands clean during an emergency to prevent the spread of germs. If your tap water is not safe to use, wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected. If needed, a temporary hand washing station can be created by using a large water jug that contains clean water.

How to clean water

Bring your drinking water to a rolling boil for 15 to 20 minutes before consumption or for cleaning purposes. At altitudes above one mile or 2,000 meters, you should increase the rolling time to three minutes. For an added measure, after boiling, you can chemically disinfect the water with chlorine bleach (minus additives). Use 16 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon, or 4 drops per quart of water.

The reason for taking added measures after you boil your water is that many water-borne diseases like giardia and cryptosporidium tend to encyst and can survive a chemical disinfection, especially with chlorine.  Most of your one-celled creepy-crawlies will bite the big one with it, but boiling is the only surefire method when you don’t have an advanced water filtration system available.

Calcium hypochlorite (HTH, also known as “pool shock”) is another method to use.  The concentrations are different per the manufacturer, but you can reconstitute it and make a slurry with a one-liter bottle and a teaspoon of the HTH. Then you follow the ratio for chlorine drops as provided above, keeping aware that it will deteriorate over time. Source

Wash your hands

Now that the water is clean, washing hands with soap and water are the best way to reduce the number of germs on the skin. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. According to the CDC, you should wash your hands after the following:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

Make a sanitation kit

As well, you want to ensure your house has a way of dealing with sanitation issues. Having a sanitation kit that is ready in times of disaster is essential to keeping your family and neighbors healthy. These kits can fit comfortably into a bucket, are affordable, and will not take up much space. Additionally, being educated on how to properly dispose of waste is a key factor in keeping everyone healthy during a disaster.

Some suggested sanitation supplies should be added to any short or long-term emergency kits are:

  • Disposable bucket or luggable loo
  • Toilet paper (two weeks worth)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Garbage bags with twist ties (for liners of toilets or luggable loo)
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Cat Litter or absorbent material such as saw dust or dirt
  • Baby wipe
  • Soap
  • Baking soda can be used to help eliminate odors
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Shovel
  • Women’s sanitary needs

Dispose of Waste

Properly disposing of waste products keeps water sources clean and cuts down on illness and disease.  If city water is still available, flush conservatively.  Grey water such as used dish water, bath water or water for cooking can be used to flush the toilet.  If water lines are damaged, or if the damage is suspected, do not flush the toilet.

If water services are interrupted, an easy way to utilize the toilet and keep it clean is to:

  • Clean and empty the water of the toilet bowl out.
  • Line the bowl with a heavy-duty plastic bag.
  • Once the bag has waste inside, add a small amount of deodorant such as cat litter, as well as disinfectant and securely tie the bag for disposal.
  • A large plastic trash can (lined with a heavy duty bag) can be used to store the bags of waste.
  • Once trash services begin, the city will come and collect these.

If a portable camp toilet is used, the above mentioned can also be used. However, if the trash crews are coming, carefully secure the waste bag and store in a designated trash can to be collected. If the trash crews are not coming in a given amount of time, the bag of waste will need to be buried (see the proper way to bury waste below).

Officials say to avoid burying your waste, but sometimes it is necessary. However, if the waste is not properly taken care of, pollution of water sources will lead to illness and disease. It also attracts flies and insects which will spread the disease further. Understand that burying feces takes up to a year to decompose. Therefore, finding the right spot to bury your feces is crucial. There are biodegradable bags that a person can put their waste into. These can usually be found in the camping department of outdoor stores, or on the Internet. The bags assist the waste in decomposing faster and assists in preventing the waste from hitting major water sources. If a person does not have one of these handy bags available, the feces should be buried in “catholes” far away from water sources, campsites and a communal spot where there are a lot of humans. If you find yourself in a situation where toilet paper is not available, you may have to resort to a more natural method of staying clean. Below is a list of toilet paper alternatives for an emergency situation.

Toilet Paper Alternatives

  • Leaves
  • Phone books
  • Unused coffee filters
  • Corn cobs (That’s right- Corn Cobs)
  • Dilapidated kitchen towels (no longer used for cleaning).
  • Bed linen strips
  • Mail order catalog

Hygiene

It is important to continue regular hygiene habits during an emergency. As well, a woman’s personal hygiene and ensuring children are clean is essential in making sure sanitation-related illnesses do not occur.Habits such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, combing your hair and even washing your body with a wet washcloth. This will provide a sense of normalcy, help prevent the spread of disease, as well as help to relieve the stress brought on by the disaster.

In a pinch, water can be heated outside using a sun visor for a vehicle or a sun oven. Use filtered potable water or fresh rainwater during times of emergencies. To prevent sanitation-related diseases, do not use standing water.

SHTF laundry

If your home was damaged by flood water, you will need to disinfect your washing machine. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Set the washer to the largest load capacity and fill with hot water
  2. Add one cup chlorine bleach
  3. Set the washer to a full cycle with a hot water rinse. Allow washing machine to run through the entire cycle.
  4. Clean the exterior of the washer – top, front and sides – and all other surfaces in the laundry room with a solution of chlorine bleach and hot water. Rinse with clean water.

Additional Maintenance Tips:

  • If the washer has been through a flood, have a technician check the appliance before cleaning and using.
  • If a dryer has been contaminated by flood water, have it checked by a technician and then wipe down the drum and outside of the dryer with a solution of chlorine bleach and hot water. Always rinse well with a cloth dipped in clear water.

Once your washer is clean and ready for use, it’s time to get that laundry going.

  1. Sort clothes into appropriate piles.
  2. Check your care label to make sure garments are washable.
  3. If labeled hand washable only, then hand wash—do not put into the washing machine.
  4. If the garment is dry, brush off loose dirt and residue. Rinse in clean, cool water to remove mud and flood water. This will take several rinses until rinse water is clear. Work a heavy duty detergent (liquid) or paste of granule detergent into all stained areas. Let stand 30 minutes.
  5. Work a heavy duty detergent (liquid) or paste of granule detergent into all stained areas. Let stand 30 minutes.
  6. Follow care labels and wash in hottest water safe for the garment with detergent. Use bleach if recommended for the garment.
  7. Sanitize with a disinfectant. Always test on an inconspicuous seam to be sure it does not harm the garment. Add to washing machine before adding clothing.

Some disinfectants to try are:

  • Liquid chlorine bleach (Clorox, Purex) if safe. Do not use on washable wools and silks. Follow directions carefully.
  • Pine oil (Pine-O-Pine, Fyne Pine) is safe for most washable garments. Do not use on washable wools and silks since the odor will remain.
  • Phenolic (Pine-Sol, Al-Pine) is safe for most washable garments. Do not use on washable wools and silks since the odor will remain. 1 Hang garments to dry.

Off-grid laundry is another option to consider

As well, you need to consider some off-grid laundry sources if your home has no power. Some items you will need are:

First, gather your supplies.

  • Laundry soap of choice (liquid is easier to use in this case)
  • Borax
  • Baking Soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Sturdy scrub brush
  • Small bucket (I use a clean plastic kitty litter bucket)
  • Good quality janitor’s mop bucket with a press wringer
  • Large basin or clean bathroom
  • Drying rack and clothespins (or method of choice)
  1. Separate clothing into small piles.
  2. In a large basin, add laundry soap and begin filling with water with the hottest water. Mix the soap into the water until incorporated.
  3. As water is still filling up in the basin, add laundry. Turn off the water when water covers the soiled laundry.
  4. Add any disinfectants and mix to incorporate.
  5. Allow laundry to sit for 30 minutes to an hour to soak.
  6. When ready to clean clothes, fill the second basin up with water and set aside.
  7. Using an agitator, scrub clothes to get all stains off.
  8. Rinse clothes in the second basin to remove soap.
  9. Ring out clothes and set on dryer rack to dry.

Prevention is the key to spreading communicable diseases, so prepare appropriately.


Medical

Short-term disasters can bring on a myriad of medical situations and they can occur very quickly. Because of the disaster, roads may be impassable, or in some cases, the hospitals may be at capacity and cannot take in any more patients. With that in mind, it is important to know what the most common medical emergencies are and prepare accordingly for them.

In short-term disasters, prepare for water-related illnesses. This will be very common given the close proximity to contaminated water sources.

In The Prepper’s Blueprint, it states, “The relationship between communicable diseases and disasters exist and merits special attention. When there is a short-term emergency, there is an increased number of hospital visits and admissions from common diarrhea-related diseases, acute respiratory infections, dermatitis, and other causes. These type of medical issues are due to those coming in direct contact with flood waters contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. These contamination factors will cause irritation to skin and a host of other medical conditions.”

In longer-term disasters, burns, cuts, rashes and secondary infections will also be very common medical emergencies to prepare for. Folks, these are the disasters you will likely face and it is imperative that you prepare for this with proper medical supplies and knowledge.

I realize that there are a lot of medical conditions to think about. The best approach is to look at the basics and prepare for those. Many medical items can be used for multiple disasters, so take comfort in this and prepare accordingly.

Build the Ultimate 1 Year Medical Supply with These First Aid Basics

Experts suggest that each home have a basic medical supply that is unique to your family’s needs. Therefore, keep any pre-existing conditions and allergies any family members may have, as well as the above list of the most common medical conditions that hospitals see. It is within your best interest to ensure that you have any and all necessary medications that require prescriptions before an emergency happens.We all have our fair share of band-aids and antibiotic ointment, but do you have medical supplies that can help with true medical emergencies?

The following list is your basic medical preparations broken into sections of the need to help in your organization.


Hygiene

  • Laundry detergent
  • Disinfectant (bleach, pine-sol, etc.)
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Liquid antibacterial hand soap – 20
  • Disposable hand wipes – 20
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer – 20
  • Feminine items – 12 packages
  • Extra baby needs (diapers, wipes, pacifiers, bottles, medicine, etc.) – in quantity
  • Exam gloves – 5 boxes
  • Rubber cleaning gloves
  • Extra mops and brooms
  • Large plastic bins (for doing laundry, clearing away debris or packing precious items in a pinch)

Essential Medical Tools

  • Trauma shears
  • Pen light or small flash light
  • Scalpel with extra blades
  • Stethoscope
  • Irrigation syringe
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Foam splint – 2 per family member
  • Thermometer

Over-the-Counter Products

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever (for adults and children) – 5 bottles
  • Stool softener – 5 bottles
  • Electrolyte powder – 3 boxes
  • Cold/flu medications – 2 boxes per family member
  • Expectorant/decongestants – 3 per family member
  • Hydrocortisone – 3
  • Miconazole/anti-fungal – 3
  • Syrup of Ipecac and activated charcoal – 2
  • Eye care (e.g., contact lens case, cleansing solution, eye moisture drops) – 3 per family member

Natural Supplements

Wound Care

  • Disinfectant (Betadine, isopropyl alcohol, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) – 2 per family member
  • Band-aids – 3 large boxes in assorted sizes
  • Antibiotic ointment – 5
  • Instant cold and hot packs – 10
  • 1 week of prescription medications – as many as you are able to get with your prescription
  • Ace bandages – 10
  • Non- stick gauze pads in assorted sizes (3×3 and 4×4) – 10 boxes
  • Sterile roller bandages – 5
  • Surgical sponges – 5
  • Adhesive tape or duct tape – 5
  • Steri-strips – 5
  • Moleskin – 3
  • Respirator masks – 4
  • CPR micro shield – 1 per family member
  • Suture kit – 3 per family member
  • QuikClot® compression bandages – 2 per family member
  • Tourniquet – 2
  • Thermal Mylar blanket – 1 per family member
  • Antibiotics

*These are your minimum quantities. If you are able to do so, prepare for more.

One cannot become proficient at something without study and application. Going as far as to take medical courses in community colleges, local county extension offices, local fire departments, and with veterans groups, along with other civic clubs and organizations can give you a great edge on acquiring knowledge on medical emergencies and how to treat them. It should go without saying, but stock up on medical manuals like:

Taking medical courses would be very beneficial in preparing for this type of emergency. The Fire Department, American Red Cross or Medical Centers are local resources that offer classes to assist in medical emergencies. To further prepare, find websites online that deal with first aid care and go through each injury to see what medical instruments and items are needed.

Customize Your Supplies

Many believe that a basic store-bought medical kit will provide for all of their medical needs, but these kits tend to be overloaded with unneeded items (i.e., 500 band aids). Buying your own medical supplies allows you to customize your kit to fit your family’s unique needs and is more economical. In fact, you can purchase many of these items at your local Dollar Store to save money.  Customizing your family’s medical supply gives your family members the best chance at being cared for when a medical emergency arises. Further, take your preparedness a step further and organize your medical preps and create medical response packs for quick acting.

Store a first aid kit in the car (being careful with heat sensitive items) and also tuck some medical supplies into your 72-hour bag as well as at work. This way, you can be ready to deal with medical emergencies wherever they happen to occur.

Storing Medical Supplies

How you store your first aid supplies is every bit as important as having the supplies in the first place. Medicines can lose potency or spoil if they are subject to moisture, temperature fluctuations, and light.  For example, aspirin begins to break down when it is exposed to a slight amount of moisture.

Unless the instructions indicate otherwise, store medications in a cool, dark place that is out of the reach of children.   However, you still want to store the medical supplies in a place that is easily accessible to adults, who may need to respond very quickly in the event of a medical crisis.

Check expiration dates periodically to ensure the medicines are still good to use.  While most medicines lose potency once they’re past the expiration date, there are a few that will actually make a person extremely ill if taken after it spoils.  For example, tetracycline antibiotics that have spoiled can cause a severe, sometimes deadly, kidney ailment.

Signs of Expired Medicines

Although there is data that states most medicines can last longer than their expiration dates, it is important to understand that using medicine years past its expiration date can lose effectiveness and in some cases, change its chemical makeup. If you are in a survival situation where your life depended on an outdated drug, then it is wise to follow the cliché “better safe than sorry”.

Knowing the signs of expired medicine can help indicate when new items are needed.

  • Creams or ointments which are discolored or have changed in texture.
  • Creams or ointments which have cracked or separated.
  • The medicines smell has changed since it was opened.
  • Tablets are broken or chipped and have changed color

Bear in mind, there are some medications that should never be used after their expiration and could have severe consequences for patients. These include:

  • Anticonvulsants – narrow therapeutic index
  • Dilantin, phenobarbital – very quickly lose potency
  • Nitroglycerin – very quickly lose potency
  • Warfarin – narrow therapeutic index
  • Procan SR – sustained release procainamide
  • Theophylline – very quickly lose potency
  • Digoxin – narrow therapeutic index
  • Thyroid preparations
  • Paraldehyde
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Epinephrine – very quickly lose potency
  • Insulin – very quickly lose potency
  • Eye drops – eyes are particularly sensitive to any bacteria that might grow in a solution once a preservative degrades.

Source

What if you don’t have enough medical supplies?

Now, let’s take this a step further. What if you prepared your food and water for an emergency, but completely forgot about getting medical supplies? (It’s hard to remember everything when you’re planning for a disaster) There are some alternatives that you may be lucky enough to have in your pantry to use.

Some of your kitchen staples may have some medicinal value. For instance, did you know you can make an antiseptic (first discovered during World War I) made of a diluted solution of baking soda and bleach? It’s called Dakin’s Solution and has been proven to kill most bacteria and viruses. As well, vinegar, baking soda, baking powder and salt have medicinal values.

Honey has become a poster child for an alternative to antibiotics can fight multiple species of bacteria, fungi, and superbugs, making it a viable alternative to antibiotics.

As Ready Nutrition writer, Jeremiah Johnson recently wrote, “Honey is also good for wounds/abrasions/cuts of the mouth, as it is a demulcent that soothes abraded tissues, and it also is a medium that microbes do not live in.  Who doesn’t remember the time-honored honey and lemon mixture for a sore throat?  The thing of it is: it works, and if it works it should be employed. Read more on how to use honey to treat wounds.

Having access to health-inducing herbs is another essential for wound care. Herbs such as oregano, garlic, lavender, and thyme can help protect a wound from infection and promote healing. Along those lines, writer, Jeremiah Johnson recommends every prepper have the Three G’s: Ginger, Garlic, and Ginseng in their natural medicine cabinet. Further, knowing which herbs can be used for natural pain killers is also paramount in your medical preparedness knowledge. Some pain reducing herbs to add to your herbal first-aid kit are:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
  • Tea (Camellia sinensis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Common pantry items can also be used to help bleeding wounds clot. Many have found that cayenne pepper is an effective alternative and natural version of QuikClot. Cayenne pepper contains an active ingredient, called capsaicin, which has analgesic (pain relieving) properties and various other medicinal uses.

As well, boiled and sanitized torn sheets can be used as bandages. Or, if the cuts are minor and you have access to an herb garden, consider placing a sage leaf or lamb’s quarters on the cut as a natural bandage.

In an extended disaster, bacterial infections and viruses are likely to be one of the reasons that people will die.

Historically, essential oils have been used as a natural therapy to relieve symptoms when modern-day medicine was not available. The most amazing aspect of essential oils lies in their ability to effectively kill bad bacteria while leaving good bacteria alone! Rather than targeting one symptom, as Western medicine does, it targets multiple symptoms.

There are two types of essential oils you should stock up on for SHTF planning:

Antibacterial – Due to the increase of antibacterial resistant illnesses, many are turning to essential oils such as basil, cassia, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, marjoram, melaleuca, myrrh, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, and thyme.

Antiviral – Oils that have been studied to help control viral infections include: basil, cassia, cinnamon, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, Melaleuca, myrrh, oregano, and thyme.

I started out with a simple beginner’s essential oil kit and have found it of great use! Some more popular ways of using essential oils are aromatherapy, herbal soaks, compresses, tinctures, and salves.

Surviving Disaster-Related Diseases

In reality, the aftermath of a disaster is always to hardest to survive. We tend to find ourselves in third-world living conditions – off-the-grid, poor water conditions, lack of proper sanitation and poor diet.

Those conditions can create the perfect storm for outbreaks of disease and infection. And if you find yourself living in close proximity to others, those diseases can quickly spread, thus setting the stage for an epidemic.

Outbreaks

Let’s cut to the chase, epidemics are quite common following certain disasters. According to this publication, these are the most common diseases that follow a disaster:

  • Diarrhea-related illness (cholera, dysentery)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Hepatitis
  • ARI (pneumonia/influenza)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • TB
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Tetanus

Many believe the misuse of antibiotics in the past has led to the dangers of super bugs such as the spread of MRSA and MERS virus. In fact, nearly all significant bacterial infections in the world are becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics. This means that our current medical safety nets will be much smaller in the near future. Even the smallest cuts could pose a danger to our health.

To add insult to injury, the disease typhoid which is spread from contaminated food and water is also becoming resistant to antibiotics and could soon become an out of control nightmare. Why am I telling you this? Because superbugs are everywhere now and experts warn that “it’s almost too late.” In the wake of a disaster, we immediately fall back on medicines that have worked in the past. If we find ourselves with an infection and antibiotics don’t work, then a secondary infection will set in and your fate is sealed.

Phases of outbreak and classification of infectious disease

Infectious disease transmission or outbreaks may be seen days, weeks or even months after the onset of the disaster. Three clinical phases of natural disasters summarize the chronological public health effects on injured people and survivors:

Phase (1), the impact phase (lasting up to 4 days), is usually the period when victims are extricated and initial treatment of disaster-related injuries is provided.

Phase (2), the post-impact phase (4 days to 4 weeks), is the period when the first waves of infectious diseases (air-borne, foodborne, and/or water-borne infections) might emerge.

Phase (3), the recovery phase (after 4 weeks), is the period when symptoms of victims who have contracted infections with long incubation periods or those with latent-type infections may become clinically apparent. During this period, infectious diseases that are already endemic in the area, as well as newly imported ones among the affected community, may grow into an epidemic.

Source

When an outbreak occurs, those living in cities or in close proximity to others will be more at risk of contracting illnesses and spreading them. Any pregnant women, infants, elderly people, or those with chronic medical conditions are also at risk and could be the first of the population to contract the contagious illness. If an epidemic approaches, there could be long-lasting repercussions of such a disaster. The worst-case scenario in all of this is if the outbreak is widespread and extremely contagious drastic changes could be made to isolate the outbreak itself.

  • Challenges or shut downs of business commerce
  • Breakdown of our basic infrastructure: communications, mass transportation, supply chains
  • Payroll service interruptions
  • Staffing shortages in hospitals and medical clinics
  • Interruptions in public facilities – Schools, workplaces may close, and public gatherings such as sporting events or worship services may close temporarily.
  • Government mandated voluntary or involuntary home quarantine.

While these are extreme points, I want to make sure you are prepared for a worst-case scenario and knowing what to expect will help you in your efforts. As I have mentioned, with any type of disaster or emergency, the responsibility falls more heavily upon our shoulders to ensure you can meet our needs. Instituting preventative measures in the home could also help you better prepare for injured or infectious family members.

  • Taking proper illness precautions – avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes during any pandemic.
  • Create a sick room for the home.
  • Keep your immune systems up by getting lots of sleep, having a good diet, exercising and taking vitamins and antioxidants to protect your health.
  • Stay inside and avoid contact with others.
  • Get pandemic supplies to have on hand at a moments notice.

Some items to consider when stocking a sick room are:

  • Tyvek protective suit and shoe covers
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Bed with linens, pillow, and blanket
  • Small wastebasket or a bucket lined with a plastic garbage bag.
  • Gallon-sized zip-loc bags
  • Pitcher or large bottle for water
  • Large plastic dishpan
  • portable toilet and human waste bags
  • Clipboard with paper and a pen for writing in the daily log.
  • Clock
  • Hand crank or battery-powered radio
  • Good source of light
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • 1 clothing hamper or a garbage can that is lined with a plastic garbage bag used to collect soiled clothing and bedding items before they are washed.
  • A bell or a noisemaker to call for assistance.
  • Thermometer
  • Tissues
  • Hand wipes or a waterless hand sanitizer
  • Bleach or disinfectant
  • Cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol, disinfectant or bleach
  • Measuring cup capable of holding 8 ounces or 250 ml
  • Over-the-counter medications for use in the sick room
  • Protective eye gear
  • Protective clothing
  • Disposable aprons or smocks (at least 2 cases)
  • Duct tape for sealing off doorways and vents
  • Latex household disposable cleaning gloves
  • Disposable nitrile gloves (2-3 boxes)
  • Garbage bags
  • Trash can
  • N95 masks or N100 respirator masks for use when the sick person is coughing or sneezing

To conclude, there will always be the threat of completely unanticipated disasters, but your overall understanding of the disasters we face and the dangers that lie in the aftermath will help you maneuver through these types of emergencies.

Hurricane, Earthquake, EMP, War

First the US was hit by hurricane Harvey and now hurricane Irma.

The frequency and magnitude of earthquakes have been increasing for the past decade.  Mexico just experienced her biggest earthquake for a century.

North Korea and US are on the edge of nuclear war.  There is no doubt North Korea has nuclear capability and now it is reported that North Korea has developed advanced hydrogen bomb.  It is very possible that North Korea can attack US with a powerful EMP weapon.  In case you don’t know yet, Expert: 90% of U.S. Population Could Die if a Pulse Event Hits the Power Grid.  Without power, our society literally comes to a halt.

Not to mention that there are rising conflicts between China and India, NATO and Russia, Israel and Iran, etc….

It is imperative to prepare spiritually and physically.  If you don’t know Jesus Christ, the son of God, I implore you to contact a Christian or simply pickup the Bible and read John and Romans.  Having the assurance that your soul is eternally secure in the Lord is THE MOST IMPORTANT preparation.  Everything else comes second to that.

I came across this article and I think it would help you to prepare physically in most unforeseen situations:

(originally published from: A Crash Course in Preparedness)

crash-course-week-1-1

We’re ushering in National Preparedness Month with the first in a series of four preparedness guides. This crash course into preparedness will help you plan a strategy, position critical assets and greatly increase your chance of surviving many of the most common emergencies. While the subject of preparedness is an extensive one, we are going to break the basics down as much as we can so that you can stay focused and on track.

Before we start, I want to share my philosophy with you. A disaster of any kind rarely stops with the initial event. The aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life for a much longer time than we intended. This can last days, into weeks and even longer (depending on the circumstance). Because of this, it’s important to have a well-rounded approach to your preparedness efforts. I wholeheartedly believe in a layering concept when it comes to preparedness. You start at the beginning and slowly add more “layers” on preparedness until your family is fully insulated from the disaster itself. By accumulating items slowly and mindfully, you will stay organized and know that all of your bases are covered. I’ve broken the layers down into three groups.

  • The first layer is the preparedness endeavors that prepare you for emergencies that have shorter-term effects. This is what we’ll cover today and basically, covers your 3-day emergency into two weeks. Having supplies in place to last up to two weeks will carry you through some of the most expected types of disasters.
  • The second layer of preparedness encompasses the disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: job loss, extreme weather events, economic collapse, long-term power outages, and pandemics, to name a few. This requires more planning on your part but is a crucial investment in order to be prepared for these longer lasting disasters.
  • The third layer of preparedness is acquiring supplies for those far from equilibrium events that have long standing consequences. In this type of disaster, you must prepare for the long haul and a complete change of lifestyle. These are events that encompass the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it and we have to learn a new way of life including new skill sets that reflect an off-the-grid lifestyle.

While there are a lot of subjects in between the highlighted layers, we must keep this prepper truth in mind: How we choose to be prepared for a disaster event is solely our responsibility, and no one else’s.

In this course, the responsibility lies with you. I will provide you links to important articles, suggestions and even checklists to further your research but it is up to you to apply the information to your lifestyle. Let’s get started!

How prepared do you want to be?

Disasters of all types are an undeniable part of life, and the only thing you can change is the way you react to them. Having supplies in place to weather the storm is a great start, but far from the desired end result. To be prepared, and I mean fully prepared, requires planning, anticipating the worst-case scenario, and training for skill sets you will need while living through the event. You can’t just waltz into your local grocery store, grab some food, batteries, and water and then be done with it. You need to prioritize, plan, and prepare.

Prioritize your needs

Ultimately, the easiest way to begin preparing is to decide what types of disasters you are planning for (weather-related, natural disasters, mass evacuation, economic or personal disasters), and prioritize what your emergency plans will be based on those emergencies. The best way to begin assessing what your needs are is by reading and researching the disaster you are planning to survive.

Ready Nutrition has an immense amount of articles pertaining to specific disasters, so do a search and start your research. Many people start by preparing for the most likely emergency to occur in your area.

disaster-threat-map

Do not limit your emergency planning to natural or economic disasters. Go a step further and plan for personal disasters that also tend to occur without warning (unemployment, divorce, death in the family).


Plan

Researching and creating an emergency plan is the best way to stay organized and on point with your prepping.

Having a plan in place to determine what steps need to be taken by you and your family members when an emergency arises will ensure that all preparedness needs are covered. Now that your plan is beginning to come to life, it’s important to check and prepare the home. To start, every home should begin their preparedness endeavors with this checklist.

Complete this prepared home checklist

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home if you plan on evacuating. Do you plan on bugging in or bugging out? If you are having problems deciding whether to shelter in place or evacuate, answer these two questions and you will know what you need to do.
  • Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches.
  • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
  • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it’s kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Ensure that your family’s important documents are backed up and in a safe location.
  • Before you begin investing into your preparedness supplies, take steps to get out of debt. Debt only enslaves you further, and simplifying your lifestyle can help break those shackles. Learn about these 6 ways to simplify your lifestyle.
  • Create an emergency fund to begin funding your preparedness endeavors.
  • Plan for the worst case scenario and have emergency I.D. cards made for each family member (including your pets) with current information provided.

Planning is the key to survival and the best way to start is with a “list of lists”

This list will become your Master List of preparedness needs, so keep it in an easy to access location. Your list will also help to navigate you through your preparedness plan. Ask yourself these pertinent questions and realistically answer them. After you determine what disaster you are planning for, sit down and begin to map it out. The way I started was by writing down all the main categories I needed to plan for. Here’s an example.

Short-Term List of Needs for Sheltering in Place for Two-Weeks After a Hurricane

  • Water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Communication
  • Tools
  • Fuel
  • Skillsets
  • Resources

When planning for a disaster follow these beginner protocols:

  • Choose an evacuation location and let family members know where your destination is, the contact information, a secondary destination, etc.).
  • Decide on the duration of the disaster you are planning for (3-day, 2 weeks, extended or longer-term disasters).
  • Create a financial plan on how much money you can contribute to your preparedness budget. Keep in mind that prepping can be expensive initially, so it’s best to start investing in your basic needs first: food, water, shelter, clothing, safety, and communication. You can add additional prepping items once the basics are covered.
  • Try and find items that are light weight, functional and versatile so that if you have to carry them for long periods it will not be a strain.
  • Ensure that you have contingency plans put in place in case your first plan does not work out.
  • Plan and prep for the environment you are living in.
  • While we all make mistakes, the ones made during a disaster can be very costly. This is why it is essential to plan out a worst-case scenario and know which mistakes are the most common.
  • Essentially, you want your beginning preparedness list to look like this short-term emergency checklist.

Prepare

You need to understand the disaster you are planning for, how to be mentally and spiritually prepared for it and, ultimately, what supplies and skills you need to thrive.

Many of the items that often disappear as a result of a disaster are items that protect your basic needs. While a popular prepper adage is to prepare with the 3 B’s: beans, bullets, and band-aids, there are more concepts to consider. Therefore, it is best to begin with these fundamental disaster items to meet your basic needs: food, water, clothing and shelter and then add more preparedness layers onto this initial foundation. However, many decide to expand their disaster supplies to encompass a longer duration so that if a delayed emergency response occurs, it has little effect on them. This is why preppers believe in having “back-ups for their back-ups.”

As well, do not forget about preparing items for your pets! They are depending on you to make sure they have everything they need to.

Water

Image result for ready nutrition and waterFirst and foremost, you need a dependable water source following a disaster. Your initial line of defense would be the two week supply of bottled water that is recommended, but because this need is your top priority, it is highly recommended that you get a water filtration system like the Katadyn water filter or a Berkey Filtration System. That said, many believe the suggested amount of water by disaster organizations is grossly underestimated.

If we go by the suggestion from emergency organizations and have 1 gallon per person per day, a family of 5 will need 35 gallons of water per week.

Victims of previous disasters say the suggested water amount stated by disaster organizations is not nearly enough to get through a disaster. Conway Yee’s family went through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and were without power or their well water supply for a week. To keep hydrated and clean, “we went through 20 gallons a day” for drinking and washing, he says. That’s 120 gallons of water for the week after the hurricane. With that in mind, you want to consider these alternate solutions to boost your short-term water supply.

With water being one of your most important preps, play it safe and double the amount of water needed. The extra water can be used for other purposes like sanitation, cleaning, etc. As well, because many water sources are questionable following a disaster, water can quickly become scarce, so it is important to remember there are hidden water sources found in the home to fall back to. As well, it is also advisable to have alternate ways to treat your water.

As a precaution, keep a bottle of unscented liquid chlorine bleach with your water supply for cleaning and sanitizing and for disinfecting water.

Food

Image result for ready nutrition and food supplyOnce you have your water supply in place, it’s time to begin stockpiling some food for emergencies. The overall goal of having an emergency food pantry is to have a wide array of nutritious foods stored away in order to carry us through an emergency. Start out with a supply of non-perishable food that doesn’t require a lot of cooking time (if any).

Ensure that you have foods suitable towards survival. Foods that have the sustaining energy sources to burn slowly. Finding foods that are high in complex carbs and dietary fiber are far more efficient from a dietary standpoint and will keep you feeling “fuller” longer. This could go a long way if you are planning on rationing your food in an extended emergency. Also, stay away from overly salty or sweet foods. This will only increase your need for water and since your food stores are a precious commodity, you will want to try and avoid these types of foods.

Using a food storage calculator will help you to determine how much food is necessary. It is important to factor in your caloric intake, especially during an emergency. Your activity level could drastically increase in a disaster due to aftermath cleanup and other activities. These are some considerations to keep in mind before purchasing the food items:

  • It’s best to find items that have expiration dates that are 1-2 years away from expiring, unless that item is used frequently in the home, and can be rotated frequently.
  • Typically, the best sales are advertised in the newspaper flyers.  There are stores that have 10 items for $10, or 2-for-1 offers.  You don’t have to break the bank to get stocked up.  Just get a little each time you visit the store.  In season vegetables are typically cheaper.  Larger volume packages are often a better price
  • Shop with the number of people in the household in mind. Also consider their preferences, food sensitivities, and appetites.
  • Get a wide variety of food to help reduce food fatigue.
  • Don’t rely on junk food. It’s especially important to keep your strength up and remain healthy during an emergency. Purchase supplies that are loaded with nutrients.
  • Store food in a dark, cool area of the home and protect your food investment by reducing oxidation of foods, bug infestations, and exposure to increase temperature and moisture levels.
  • Be aware of any special health considerations for family members.  Make sure you have supplies for family members with allergies and intolerances, as well as issues like hypertension or diabetes.
  • Store what you eat, and eat what you store.  By following this adage, you will not end up throwing away expired food, and you won’t serve up something completely unpalatable during a crisis situation.

Here are some suggested food items to have stored:

  1. Peanut butter
  2. Whole wheat crackers (consider vacuum packing to prolong freshness)
  3. Nuts and trail mix
  4. Cereal
  5. Oats
  6. Pasta
  7. Plant-based cooking oil
  8. Power bars and granola bars
  9. Dried fruit
  10. Just add water meals (Hamburger helper, pasta meals, etc.)
  11. Canned meat such as tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey
  12. Canned vegetables such as beans, carrots, and peas
  13. Canned soups and chili
  14. Sports drinks
  15. Sugar, salt, and pepper
  16. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa
  17. Powdered milk
  18. Powdered drink mixes
  19. Seeds for sprouting
  20. Multivitamins

Here are 25 must-have foods to put in your pantry.

Canning meals is also an option you should consider. This gives you more control of your dietary requirements, gives you more meal options, helps provide “normal” food during difficult times. One thing I hear a lot from disaster victims is how they wish things would go back to normal. Having some of the family’s favorite foods canned and stored away would do wonders for morale.

As well, I highly recommend storing a variety of heirloom seeds. These can be to grow sprouts for emergency nutrition and for gardens for long-term food sources. You could also plant edible flowers. Not only will they be lovely to look at, but they will provide sustenance when you need it the most. Alternatively, if you can locate food packing plants or warehouses in your city, that may be a good place to allocate additional food reserves if yours runs out. This article can provide information on foraging for weeds.

Find the best deals so you don’t blow your budget

Mentioned earlier is the importance of having a budget for prepping. It’s easy to go crazy wanting preps to get your home ready. But you can do this without blowing your budget. The large volume supermarkets typically have better deals than the smaller stores. Map your shopping route based on local ads from the large supermarkets to save on gas money as well as on shopping time. Even dollar stores carry canned goods and food products for short term/long term food supplies. Look for the best sales and buy as much of the item as your budget will allow. For a more in depth first time shopping list for your prepper, consider adding these items, as well.

You can also pack your own MREs to save money and to ensure your family has foods they will eat. Here are some tips and suggested foods to do this.

On another note, there may come a time when you run out of your food stores and need to go to the store in the aftermath of a disaster. If this occurs, be prepared for regular food staples to be in limited supplies. Foods like bread, milk, and eggs usually are the first items that run out. We saw that during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  If you find yourself in this situation, look for alternatives to those foods.

Start with a 3-day food supply and keep prepping

I have found that when starting your preparedness measures, it is best to start at the beginning in order to ensure you have everything you need to build up your preparedness foundation. Start your preparations with a 72-hour kit and then create a vehicle 72-hour kit. Once that is complete, you can begin ensuring your basic needs are met for longer periods or begin targeting other layers of preparedness. This is the foundation of your preparedness supply.

A 3 day or 72-hour kit is small enough that items can be added to a backpack to take with you in the case of a sudden disaster that comes without warning. These preparedness kits should be made for all members of the family that can account for their basic needs for 3 days. Once your 3-day supply is secure, you need to move on to expand disaster supplies to encompass more areas of preparedness.

Communication

Consider, for a moment, how drastically your life would change without the continuous flow of energy the grid delivers. What would our lives be like without access to communication channels telling us what is going on? How vulnerable would we feel not knowing what is going on around us? For that matter, how would we get in touch with loved ones to let them know how we are?

Communication during a disaster can be quite troublesome given that the power grid goes down during most natural disasters. Sadly, during these types of disasters, family and loved ones need those communication channels up the most and it can be quite frustrating when they aren’t.

Prepare ahead for this!

According to the CDC, families should develop different methods for communicating during emergency situations and share their plans beforehand with all those who would be worried about their welfare. Options for remaining in contact with family and friends if a disaster strikes include:

  • Phone contact with a designated family member or friend who is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster.
  • Email notification via a family distribution list.
  • Registration on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website.
  • Use of the toll-free Contact Loved Ones voice messaging service (1-866-78-CONTACT).

Types of Emergency Communication Channels

Cell Phones/Computers

At first glance, there is little potential for these devices when the grid goes down. Without the multitude of servers that are scattered around the globe and the electricity that feeds them, our computers are nothing more than bulky hard drives. Cell phones might still work for a little while since some cell towers have backup batteries and solar panels, but their use might be short lived.

However, don’t be too quick to scoff at the prepping potential of these devices. Computers might still be useful for communicating in some cases. It’s fairly easy to create a local wifi network (aka ad hoc network) between computers that are within range of each other. This would allow people living on the same street or in the same apartment building to talk to each other, provided they can generate their own electricity.

The better solution would be to create a local network for cell phones that isn’t reliant on any infrastructure. Their energy demands are far less than other computers, their range is longer than wifi, and they are of course, mobile. The technology for creating a peer to peer network between cell phones has existed for some time now, but unfortunately, it has yet to be sold to the public. Companies like Terranet have been perfecting it over the past few years, and they estimate that about 30% of cell phones will be capable of making these networks with a simple software change. So right now, cell phones will be pretty much useless when the grid goes down, but that may change before the end of the decade.

Ham Radio

When most preppers think of communications, ham radios usually come to mind, and for good reason. They can communicate to other radios over hundreds of miles, and they may be the only form of very long distance communication when all else fails. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be very useful for the average person.

They use a lot of electricity, the equipment can be pretty expensive, and only about 700,000 Americans are licensed operators. Still, if even a fraction of them are up and running after a major disaster, they will play a crucial role in the relief effort. Due to their limited numbers and the amount of resources that are required to keep them running, you won’t see them being used for casual conversation, but you will see them used by communities for conducting commerce and coordinating reconstruction efforts.

CB Radio/Walkie Talkie

I suspect that CB Radio’s and Walkie Talkies will be the main form of communication for the average person, and they are the best candidates for filling the gap that cell phones and internet providers would leave behind. If anything, CB radios were our parent’s version of the internet. They were affordable and accessible, you had to learn the lingo to use them, they allowed you to communicate anonymously, and much like the internet, they were used to skirt the law from time to time.

There are millions of CB radios lying around, and many of them are still being used by truckers today, so they will be available to many of the survivors. More importantly, they don’t use too much electricity, they’re more user-friendly than ham radios, and some of them are portable. Depending on the conditions you’re using them in, their range can extend anywhere from 1 to 25 miles.

As for walkie talkies, I don’t have to tell you how useful they could be. Much like the wifi network I spoke of earlier, these will be pretty handy for staying in touch with your neighbors. Together, CB radios and walkie talkies will be most common form communication after a disaster.

Courier

If the grid is down long enough, eventually some enterprising citizens would start to provide courier services. Whether it’s by foot or by bicycle, they will fill an important niche that other items on this list can’t provide, and that is a secure form of communication. If you had to send a message to someone who lives out of the range of your radio or wifi network, and you needed that message to remain a secret, writing that message down and sending someone out to deliver it by hand would be the only way to do it. Wifi just doesn’t have the range, and radios are too easy to listen in on.

Fuel

Image result for ready nutrition and fireSo, the power is out. You have all of this wonderful food stored away but no way to cook it. Before you resign yourself to baked beans at room temperature out of the can, consider your options. You may not have a functioning kitchen but you can still do some cooking.

As with all things related to prepping, you should have a backup plan, and a backup plan for your backup plan, and if you can, one more for good measure. Further, having an ample supply of items to use to create fire with will be paramount in an emergency situation. Therefore, keep the following items stocked up in your supplies:

  • Stock plenty of fuel for your cooking methods. (Be sure to store your fuel properly and in accordance with local fire regulations.)
  • Store matches in waterproof containers.
  • Lighters
  • Dry wood
  • If you have a place to store them, tightly roll newspapers and magazines to use for fuel. You can also use newspapers to biomass logs.
  • Fireproof cooking vessels

If a fire is not an option for cooking there are several alternatives you can turn to. Here are some popular options for alternative cooking sources

  • Camping propane stove
  • Rocket stove
  • Solar funnel cooker
  •  Propane or charcoal BBQ grill
  • Charcoal Hibachi (you can burn nearly anything in this as long as it is non-toxic)
  • Outdoor fireplace
  • #10 Can cookstove
  • Sun Oven
  • The Wonderbag

Whichever type of cooking vessel you use, make sure you have an ample supply of fuel to use. Whichever fuel you decide, store an ample supply. For example, if you choose to grill food using a BBQ grill, understand that one large bag of charcoal briquettes will last for about 4 cook outs. If you’re preparing for a 10-day emergency, you will need 10 bags of charcoal. As well, temperatures can affect the amount of fuel you use as well. For instance, low temperatures and the wind can greatly influence the amount of propane you use on camping stoves. It can increase the amount of fuel used by three! My family has an indoor wood burning grill,

In such a case, I like to have multiple ways to cook emergency food. My family has an indoor wood burning grill, we also own a rocket stove and a solar cooker. We have an outdoor grill too but in a dire emergency situation, we want to maintain OPSEC (operational security) and do not want all the neighbors knowing we have food. A fear of many preppers during the beginning stages of a true SHTF event is how our smells, as well as the aromas from foods we prepare, could attract unwanted visitors. Cooking food can be smelled in best conditions up to a half mile or so. Further, those who have gone without food for days on end will have a heightened sense of smell and will use this to their advantage. Keep this in mind when choosing how you will be preparing food.

Tools

The right tools are a valuable commodity when it comes to survival and essential items to have on hand for hunting, digging, cutting, communicating and navigational purposes. A 72-hour bag should have all items necessary to survive for 3 days. Bottom line is your preparedness tools are your life line and without them, you could be ill-equipped in a survival situation.

The ten tools listed below are some of the most important survival tools that should be in your 72-hour bags. Of course, other items can be included, but these essentials are a must-have for every survival pack. Practice using these tools regularly so that you know their capability and their strength.

  • Knives (large machete type and a smaller Gerber hunter)
  • Multi-tool
  • Camping shovels
  • Candles
  • Hammer
  • Hatchet
  • Collapsible fishing pole with hooks, line, bobbers, etc.
  • Flares
  • Maps, compass or GPS devices (Having extra compasses ensures that navigation is accurate).
  • Rope or paracord
  • Knife sharpening stone
  • Flash light with extra batteries (get one flashlight for each family member)
  • Headlamps
  • Light sticks
  • Fire starting supplies including a lighter and a magnesium rod 

Read more about essential survival tools here. As well, consider having separate supplies for your vehicle.

Not only will you need the above-listed tools, but you will also need tools if your home has been damaged by a disaster. In the backbreaking early stages of rubble removal, simple hand tools will play a vital role in transporting and removing debris. Acquiring basic hand tools—shovels, axes, and hammers—meet immediate demolition needs and then take on a long-term role once construction resumes. The tools used in the first phase of reconstruction were:

1. Round point and square nose shovels, preferably heavy-duty variety with extra long blade socket.
2. Pick axe
3. Pulaski Axe
4. Rig builder’s hatchet
5. Axe
6. Bow saw
7. 24-oz. framing hammer
8. Sledge hammer
9. Digging bars, preferably both pointed and chisel tip varieties; crow bars.
10. Leather or synthetic work gloves
11. Protective eye wear
12. Hard hats
13. Dust masks
14. Contractor-grade wheel barrows
15. Bolt cutters
16. Large-diameter heavy-duty weatherproof rope; small-diameter light-duty line
17. Rope hoist/pulley, minimum 250-lb. capacity
18. Folding knife

Quite simply, having these tools and equipment on hand will help you operate in a non-technological environment. The bottom line is your preparedness tools are your life line and without them, you could be ill-equipped in a survival situation.

Written Survival Information

Image result for ready nutrition and survival booksIn a high-stress situation, it’s easy to forget the basic how-tos of tasks that you don’t perform every day.

Many survival manuals and printouts can easily be downloaded onto a flash drive to be taken along in your bug out bags. Don’t underestimate the value of a spiritual book to boost the morale.

 

You want books like:

I like to have hard copies of important books on hand at home. If the power is out, you may not be able to access e-books or websites.

Security

The reality is that the vast majority of people have about three days of food and water at home and when a prolonged disaster strikes it upends the stability of the entire system of just-in-time delivery. When those delivery trucks stop delivering, things can be pretty dicey.

Most people strive to make their homes safe and secure. We install motion lights, fence the yard and make windows difficult to open. We have good quality locks on the doors and sometimes burglar alarms, as well. But all it takes is opening the door to the wrong person, or someone throwing a lawn chair through a glass window.

In a disaster situation, these security measures may not be enough. We need only to look at the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters to see that looters are out in full force, taking advantage of the people who have already lost so much. As we’ve said here before, “If you can’t protect it, you don’t own it!”  This is a common human response to disasters and most preppers know this which is why they have guns and ammunition with which they will defend their homes and families.

But let’s explore some other ways you can protect your home and belongings. One way is to understand the mind of the criminal. An MSNBC affiliate out of Atlanta recently did just that. They sent letters to 86 people who had gone to prison for burglary and asked them a variety questions about their crimes. Their answers could tell you a lot about how to protect your home from this crime. What they told reporters included the following:

  • Don’t advertise what you own. One burglar admitted to looking for homes that had cars with NRA bumper stickers, which would indicate that there are plenty of guns to steal there.
  • Burglars don’t just look in obvious places. If they feel safe, they’ll tear everything up looking for hidden valuables.
  • The best time to break into a house was between 12:30 and 2:30, because it’s rare for both kids or adults to be home at that time period.
  • Not all burglars are intimidated by security alarm signs and cameras, and many admitted to knowing how to disable alarms. Some suggested that cameras would indicate that there are valuables in the home.
  • As you might expect, burglars are terrified of large dog breeds.
  • Burglars aren’t typically killers. They don’t want to a serious confrontation with a homeowner, so any sign that someone is home is a deterrent.

You can read more about that here, but essentially, if you know what to expect, then you can better prepare for it. Remember – prioritize, prepare and plan for what may come.

Preventative measures can be put in place to keep criminals far away from your home.  Minimize the threat of a home break in or home invasion by adding layers of security to prevent your home from being a possible hit.  Security layers are preventative measures put into place that will advertise to possible intruders to avoid your home altogether.

Having firearms on site will help you reinforce these security measures and continue protecting your home. By training with these weapons, you will be familiarizing yourself with firearms you will definitely see in one way, shape, or form in a SHTF scenario.  Learning how to operate these will stimulate you to develop skills and perhaps to purchase one or more in civilian/legal ownership form.  There are also plenty of qualified instructors to be found in these ranges, and a high-end range that is worth its salt will provide one for you to familiarize you with the weapon free of charge before you fire it.

The 3 Security Layers for the home

Layer 1: The Outside Layer

  • Reinforced doors and locks.  There is only 1 ” of wood protecting you in normal door locks.
  • Invest in heavy duty door hinges and secure door frames with 3 ” screws.
  • Barred windows or European-style security/storm shutters.
  • Doors that are not glass or see through.
  • Install a peep hole for the door.
  • Never rely on a chain latch as an effective barrier (they are easily broken if the door is kicked in).
  • Install infrared flood lights or motion detector lights around the perimeter of the home.
  • A gate at the front of the driveway that has spikes at the top to prevent someone from jumping over the fence
  • Never leave a spare key hidden under a rock or door mat.  Too many people do this and it is the first place a criminal is going to look.
  • Cut back large trees or bushes near the windows to provide concealment.  Additionally, putting thorn bushes and other types of plants to further secure the home would be advantageous.
  • Have a guard dog trained to attack.  And place “beware of dog” signs on the front and side gates of the home.

Layer 2: The Inside Layer

  • Consider adding a 2-way voice feature to the existing alarm system.  This feature enables your security system to communicate directly with the control panel.  This feature also allows you to call into your system and be able to listen to any activity or speak to your child or other family members who are home.
  • Position web cams strategically in hidden areas.  Place the computer that is monitoring the locations in a hidden spot so the criminals do not walk off with the computer.
  • Have emergency plans and protocols set up where children or teens can see them.  Additionally, have important contact phone numbers next to the plan.
  • Teach the household how to call 9-1-1, and have a script ready for them to read to the dispatcher.  This will help keep them explain calmly to the dispatcher what the emergency situation is.
  • Teach members of the home different escape routes to use in case they need to leave the home, as well as a code word to use for the family to immediately leave the home to go to a safe location.
  • Close all curtains and blinds at night time and set the alarm.
  • Keep purses, car keys, money and jewelry away from windows where burglars can look in and see.  This only makes them want to break in more.
  • If a gun is in the home, have it locked up or put away so that smaller children do not try to use it.

Layer 3: The Personal Layer

This is the most critical layer.

  • Teach family members to be observant of their surroundings when coming home and be aware of suspicious activity.
  • Never open the door to strangers.  Teach children not to be easily persuaded by strangers who look professional or have badges.
  • Teach children to call “safe” adults, such as neighbors for help in cases where parents are not home.
  • Get to know your neighbors and have their phone numbers on hand in case the child needs help from a nearby adult.
  • Or, arrange a neighborhood watch program.
  • Never be afraid to call the police if a stranger or solicitor is acting suspiciously.
  • Teach children how to use the security alarm and where the panic button is.
  • Find a bug out location for family members to go to for safety.
  • If someone is trying to break into your home, activate your car alarm or panic button on the security alarm to draw attention from the neighbors.
  • As a last resort, teach older members of the home and older children how to use weapons against intruders.

In many cases, the local officials will be just as confused as you and may give mixed messages on how serious the situation is. In their defense, the information they are getting is constantly changing and informing the public is difficult at best.  Knowing this will help you ensure your preparedness plans are solid.

In an even longer-term situation, more plans for defense would need to be made, with perimeters, night watches, and an organized plan.

Skills

Once you move past the basics of prepping, the best thing for your plan is to learn a new skill or two. Remember, in an emergency situation there won’t be a repair shop to take your tools to or a grocery store to buy more food from. When the SHTF (Stuff Hits The Fan) you’ll be left to rely on the skills you have, and with no Internet available to look up information on, you might be stuck.

Mastering some basic off-the-grid skills will greatly enhance your survivability

Because many people are not adequately trained to handle the disaster situations in which they find themselves in, having the proper skills and training will provide an individual with a well-diversified knowledge base to help them survive during and after a disaster.

Not all Skills Are Created Equal

It is important to emphasize that some skills are more important than others. The first I would recommend are those skill sets that will enhance your off-grid environment.

  • Outdoor survival course
  • Medical training
  • Disaster classes
  • Canning and food preparation
  • Firearm training
  • Amateur radio classes
  • Exercise and weight training (get your body into shape)
  • Gardening/food production classes

Basically, any class that fits your basic survival needs, take it! As well, don’t neglect the primitive skills one can learn too. Many of these skills will carry you into longer-term preparedness measures, so the more you know the better.

One area of skills we all need to focus our attention on is self-defense. Self-defense is a crucial skill that we all should know, and it takes time to develop these skills. No doubt there have been times where you may have found yourself in a situation where you looked around and didn’t feel comfortable, and in some cases, the situation had the potential to quickly become dangerous. It’s important to have situational awareness and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you do not feel comfortable, don’t feel bad about getting out of the situation altogether. As well, trust your gut. When your intuition is making your “Spidey senses” go off, it’s time to get out of there.

In many cases, predators watch their potential victims before they strike. In a study regarding how predators selected their victims, pedestrians were videotaped walking down a street and had incarcerated convicts view them. Within seven seconds of viewing the pedestrians, the convicts had selected their targets. Selections were not based on gender, size, age or race, but rather on the body language exhibited. The convicts identified the following body language cues used as their basis for victim selection:

Posture: People that walked with shoulders slouched or slumped were selected as victims as opposed to those who walked with their chin up.
Gaze: Those avoiding eye contact were chosen as victims because of the perception that they were preoccupied. Making eye contact naturally communicates confidence.
Stride: People who walked with a stride that was too long or too short, or those who shuffled or dragged their feet, were selected over those who had a smooth and natural gait.
Rate: Those who walked slowly with no apparent purpose, and those who walked fast as if they were uncomfortable, were selected over those who walked naturally and deliberately.
Fluidity: Those who demonstrated awkwardness in their movements were chosen over those who seemed to glide as they walked.
Wholeness: Those who swung their arms wildly while walking were selected over those who moved from their center, with coordination and balance.

Physical impairments may prevent some people from projecting confidence. If they fail, victims must decide whether or not defensive action is necessary and appropriate. Carrying a concealed firearm can level the playing field, but retrieving it may not always be possible. Introducing a firearm into a volatile situation isn’t always the best response. That determination is dictated by the totality of the circumstances. Two studies may provide helpful insight when making that decision. (Source)

Learning how to fight is your last lifeline of protection. Learning escape and evasion tactics, self-defense strategies like Krav Maga or even learning to use everyday objects to protect yourself can enhance survival. The most important aspect to learn is not to hesitate when confronted. Again, this skill set takes time to master but may save your life.

Conclusion

Disasters do not just happen to other people – they can happen to you.  When you are prepared for a particular scenario, then you already have tools in place for when you need them the most. While many feel that preparedness is an enormous endeavor, when you break it down into organized lists, it’s not so daunting. Keep prepping and keep an eye out for our next preparedness guide.

Remember to fall back on your list of lists to ensure that you are purchasing the needed items for the disaster you are preparing for. Have a well rounded short-term supply to compliment your long term food items.  Store your emergency supplies in an easy to access part of your home where natural elements such as sunlight and moisture are not an issue.

As well, keep in mind that once you get your preps, you will need to maintain them to ensure your emergency items are ready to go. Your gear can best be maintained according to a maintenance schedule and you can get a start on it now.  Some preppers do it twice a year when Daylight Savings Time hits. But it’s more than giving it a glance and it doesn’t just mean cleaning it.  It also means inspecting it for serviceability and function.  It means making sure that it’s well organized and that you can pick it up at a moment’s notice. You can’t do that unless it’s ready.

Global Cooling

For many years I have believed the lie from MSM (main stream media) that global warming is a huge risk with catastrophic consequence on the Earth if we don’t act upon it.

I firmly believe that we need to protect our environment, recycle our waste and  practice sustainable farming and lifestyle.  However, that is because I believe it is a mandate from God that we need to be good steward of His creation.

However, in order to fit the global warming narrative (and imposing carbon tax), government and scientists have been pumping out misleading and even false data regarding the relationship of CO2 and global temperature.  This is where study of cycles become interesting.

According to some scientists, the global temperature is related to solar activity.  The was historical record that certain period of time the earth entered “mini ice age”.  Do a web search on Maunder Minimum and you will understand better.

If you have the means, you should start thinking about moving south and there might be a mass migration, famine, energy crisis when the next mini ice age hits.  It would be a good idea to purchase homestead and farmland in central America or Africa when the global cooling intensified.

Here is an interesting interview:

Prepare for World War 3

Putin disappeared for 10 days and reappeared today.  Everyone was guessing where and why he was gone.  The first thing when my wife told me Putin was missing I immediately answered her, “He could be in underground bunker ready for war!”

Now the first thing he did after he returned was to order another big military drill.  Russia is planning to have 4000 drills this year.  Make no mistake, the Russians are honing their knives, cleaning their bores and ready to go into action.  Their economy is under tremendous pressure because of the NATO/US sanctions and waging war is a possible way out, much like Nazi Germany in pre-WW2 situation.  America is also very close to collapse and war is also a possible alternative to turn the people’s attention away from the financial mess.

I never imagine that I would live to see a global war.  Well, I guess I should not be surprised because the Bible prophesies wars and rumors of wars during the tribulation.  I don’t know when the last 7 years is going to start but it is very close.  I pray that the Lord would protect the Christians and bring much harvest during this turbulent time.

Sometimes when I look at my children laughing and playing, I wonder how long this could go on.  I think of millions in the West who are still partying away their lives without knowing what is coming.  History always repeats itself.  People enjoying their lives when the global flood comes.  Romans still watching shows in the Colosseum while Rome burned.

Wake up my friends!

Listen to Rick Wile’s broadcast today:

http://www.trunews.com/friday-march-13-2015-chris-martenson-and-dinesh-dsouza/

Real SHTF Scenario in Bosnia -MUST Read

The following post is taken from Silver Doctors. It is a real recount of a war SHTF situation which will come when the system collapse. The only thing that is missing from the author is that the most important thing is your relationship with Jesus Christ. No amount of ammo, guns, food, water and gold can save you against the evil power in high places.

You cannot kill a demon with your AR-15. You can, however, banish a demon or even Satan himself in the name of Jesus Christ.


 

I am from Bosnia. Between 1992 and 1995, it was hell.
For one year, I lived and survived in a city with 6,000 people without water, electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Money soon became worthless.
  We returned to an exchange.  For a tin can of tushonka (think Soviet spam), you could have a woman.
Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries and food.  We fought for these things like animals.
In these situations, it all changes. Men become monsters. 
Strength was in numbers.  For a man living alone, getting killed and robbed would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.
The following is my experience…

 

Our city was blockaded by the army; and for one year, life in the city turned into total crap. We had no army, no police. We only had armed groups; those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared. But most of the neighbors’ families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols; a few had AK-47s or shotguns.

After a month or two, gangs started operating, destroying everything. Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more police. About 80 percent of the hospital staff were gone. I got lucky. My family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large house, six pistols, three AKs), and we survived (most of us, at least).

The Americans dropped MREs every 10 days to help blockaded cities. This was never enough. Some — very few — had gardens. It took three months for the first rumors to spread of men dying from hunger and cold. We removed all the doors, the window frames from abandoned houses, ripped up the floors and burned the furniture for heat. Many died from diseases, especially from the water (two from my own family). We drank mostly rainwater, ate pigeons and even rats.

Money soon became worthless. We returned to an exchange. For a tin can of tushonka (think Soviet spam), you could have a woman. (It is hard to speak of it, but it is true.) Most of the women who sold themselves were desperate mothers.

Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries and food. We fought for these things like animals. In these situations, it all changes. Men become monsters. It was disgusting.

Strength was in numbers. A man living alone getting killed and robbed would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.

Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience.

It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.

Here’s my experience: You can’t make it on your own. Don’t stay apart from your family; prepare together, choose reliable friends.

  1. How to move safely in a city

The city was divided into communities along streets. Our street (15 to 20 homes) had patrols (five armed men every week) to watch for gangs and for our enemies.

All the exchanges occurred in the street. About 5 kilometers away was an entire street for trading, all well-organized; but going there was too dangerous because of the snipers. You could also get robbed by bandits. I only went there twice, when I needed something really rare (list of medicine, mainly antibiotics, of the French original of the texts).

Nobody used automobiles in the city: The streets were blocked by wreckage and by abandoned cars. Gasoline was very expensive. If one needed to go somewhere, that was done at night. Never travel alone or in groups that were too big — always two to three men. All armed, travel swift, in the shadows, cross streets through ruins, not along open streets.

There were many gangs 10 to 15 men strong, some as large as 50 men. But there were also many normal men, like you and me, fathers and grandfathers, who killed and robbed. There were no “good” and “bad” men. Most were in the middle and ready for the worst.

  1. What about wood? Your home city is surrounded by woods; why did you burn doors and furniture?

There were not that many woods around the city. It was very beautiful — restaurants, cinemas, schools, even an airport. Every tree in the city and in the city park was cut down for fuel in the first two months.

Without electricity for cooking and heat, we burned anything that burned. Furniture, doors, flooring: That wood burns swiftly. We had no suburbs or suburban farms. The enemy was in the suburbs. We were surrounded. Even in the city you never knew who was the enemy at any given point.

  1. What knowledge was useful to you in that period?

To imagine the situation a bit better, you should know it was practically a return to the Stone Age.

For example, I had a container of cooking gas. But I did not use it for heat. That would be too expensive! I attached a nozzle to it I made myself and used to fill lighters. Lighters were precious.

If a man brought an empty lighter, I would fill it; and he would give me a tin of food or a candle.

I was a paramedic. In these conditions, my knowledge was my wealth. Be curious and skilled. In these conditions, the ability to fix things is more valuable than gold.

Items and supplies will inevitably run out, but your skills will keep you fed.

I wish to say this: Learn to fix things, shoes or people.

My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He never went hungry.

  1. If you had three months to prepare now, what would you do?

Three months? Run away from the country? (joking)

Today, I know everything can collapse really fast. I have a stockpile of food, hygiene items, batteries — enough to last me for six months.

I live in a very secure flat and own a home with a shelter in a village 5 kilometers away. Another six-month supply there, too. That’s a small village; most people there are well-prepared. The war had taught them.

I have four weapons and 2,000 rounds for each.

I have a garden and have learned gardening. Also, I have a good instinct. You know, when everyone around you keeps telling you it’ll all be fine, but I know it will all collapse.

I have strength to do what I need to protect my family. Because when it all collapses, you must be ready to do “bad” things to keep your children alive and protect your family.

Surviving on your own is practically impossible. (That’s what I think.) Even you’re armed and ready, if you’re alone, you’ll die. I have seen that happen many times.

Families and groups, well-prepared, with skills and knowledge in various fields: That’s much better.

  1. What should you stockpile?

That depends. If you plan to live by theft, all you need is weapons and ammo. Lots of ammo.

If not, more food, hygiene items, batteries, accumulators, little trading items (knives, lighters, flints, soap). Also, alcohol of a type that keeps well. The cheapest whiskey is a good trading item.

Many people died from insufficient hygiene. You’ll need simple items in great amounts. For example, garbage bags. Lots of them. And toilet papers. Non-reusable dishes and cups: You’ll need lots of them. I know that because we didn’t have any at all.

As for me, a supply of hygiene items is perhaps more important than food. You can shoot a pigeon. You can find a plant to eat. You can’t find or shoot any disinfectant.

Disinfectant, detergents, bleach, soap, gloves, masks.

First aid skills, washing wounds and burns. Perhaps you will find a doctor and will not be able to pay him.

Learn to use antibiotics. It’s good to have a stockpile of them.

You should choose the simplest weapons. I carry a Glock .45. I like it, but it’s a rare gun here. So I have two TT pistols, too. (Everyone has them and ammo is common.)

I don’t like Kalashnikov’s, but again, same story. Everyone has them; so do I.

You must own small, unnoticeable items. For example, a generator is good, but 1,000 BIC lighters are better. A generator will attract attention if there’s any trouble, but 1,000 lighters are compact, cheap and can always be traded.

We usually collected rainwater into four large barrels and then boiled it. There was a small river, but the water in it became very dirty very fast.

It’s also important to have containers for water: barrels and buckets.

  1. Were gold and silver useful?

Yes. I personally traded all the gold in the house for ammunition.

Sometimes, we got our hands on money: dollars and Deutschmarks. We bought some things for them, but this was rare and prices were astronomical. For example, a can of beans cost $30 to $40. The local money quickly became worthless. Everything we needed we traded for through barter.

  1. Was salt expensive?

Yes, but coffee and cigarettes were even more expensive. I had lots of alcohol and traded it without problems. Alcohol consumption grew over 10 times as compared to peacetime. Perhaps today, it’s more useful to keep a stock of cigarettes, lighters and batteries. They take up less space.

At this time, I was not a survivalist. We had no time to prepare — several days before the shit hit the fan. The politicians kept repeating over the TV that everything was going according to plan, there’s no reason to be concerned. When the sky fell on our heads, we took what we could.

  1. Was it difficult to purchase firearms? What did you trade for arms and ammunition?

After the war, we had guns in every house. The police confiscated lots of guns at the beginning of the war. But most of them we hid. Now I have one legal gun that I have a license for. Under the law, that’s called a temporary collection. If there is unrest, the government will seize all the registered guns. Never forget that.

You know, there are many people who have one legal gun, but also illegal guns if that one gets seized. If you have good trade goods, you might be able to get a gun in a tough situation. But remember, the most difficult time is the first days, and perhaps you won’t have enough time to find a weapon to protect your family. To be disarmed in a time of chaos and panic is a bad idea.

In my case, there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio. He had shotguns. I traded the accumulator for both of them. Sometimes, I traded ammunition for food, and a few weeks later traded food for ammunition. Never did the trade at home, never in great amounts.

Few people knew how much and what I keep at home.

The most important thing is to keep as many things as possible in terms of space and money. Eventually, you’ll understand what is more valuable.

Correction: I’ll always value weapons and ammunition the most. Second? Maybe gas masks and filters.

  1. What about security?

Our defenses were very primitive. Again, we weren’t ready, and we used what we could. The windows were shattered, and the roofs in a horrible state after the bombings. The windows were blocked — some with sandbags, others with rocks.

I blocked the fence gate with wreckage and garbage, and used a ladder to get across the wall. When I came home, I asked someone inside to pass over the ladder. We had a fellow on our street that completely barricaded himself in his house. He broke a hole in the wall, creating a passage for himself into the ruins of the neighbor’s house — a sort of secret entrance.

Maybe this would seem strange, but the most protected houses were looted and destroyed first. In my area of the city, there were beautiful houses with walls, dogs, alarms and barred windows. People attacked them first. Some held out; others didn’t. It all depended how many hands and guns they had inside.

I think defense is very important, but it must be carried out unobtrusively. If you are in a city and SHTF comes, you need a simple, non-flashy place, with lots of guns and ammo.

How much ammo? As much as possible.

Make your house as unattractive as you can.

Right now, I own a steel door, but that’s just against the first wave of chaos. After that passes, I will leave the city to rejoin a larger group of people, my friends and family.

There were some situations during the war. There’s no need for details, but we always had superior firepower and a brick wall on our side.

We also constantly kept someone watching the streets. Quality organization is paramount in case of gang attacks.

Shooting was constantly heard in the city.

Our perimeter was defended primitively. All the exits were barricaded and had little firing slits. Inside we had at least five family members ready for battle at any time and one man in the street, hidden in a shelter.

We stayed home through the day to avoid sniper fire.

At first, the weak perish. Then, the rest fight.

During the day, the streets were practically empty due to sniper fire. Defenses were oriented toward short-range combat alone. Many died if they went out to gather information, for example. It’s important to remember we had no information, no radio, no TV — only rumors and nothing else.

There was no organized army; every man fought. We had no choice. Everybody was armed, ready to defend themselves.

You should not wear quality items in the city; someone will murder you and take them. Don’t even carry a “pretty” long arm, it will attract attention.

Let me tell you something: If SHTF starts tomorrow, I’ll be humble. I’ll look like everyone else. Desperate, fearful. Maybe I’ll even shout and cry a little bit.

Pretty clothing is excluded altogether. I will not go out in my new tactical outfit to shout: “I have come! You’re doomed, bad guys!” No, I’ll stay aside, well-armed, well-prepared, waiting and evaluating my possibilities, with my best friend or brother.

Super-defenses, super-guns are meaningless. If people think they should steal your things, that you’re profitable, they will. It’s only a question of time and the amount of guns and hands.

  1. How was the situation with toilets?

We used shovels and a patch of earth near the house. Does it seem dirty? It was. We washed with rainwater or in the river, but most of the time the latter was too dangerous. We had no toilet paper; and if we had any, I would have traded it away.

It was a “dirty” business.

Let me give you a piece of advice: You need guns and ammo first — and second, everything else. Literally everything! All depends on the space and money you have.

If you forget something, there will always be someone to trade with for it. But if you forget weapons and ammo, there will be no access to trading for you.

I don’t think big families are extra mouths. Big families means both more guns and strength — and from there, everyone prepares on his own.

  1. How did people treat the sick and the injured?

Most injuries were from gunfire. Without a specialist and without equipment, if an injured man found a doctor somewhere, he had about a 30 percent chance of survival.

It ain’t the movie. People died. Many died from infections of superficial wounds. I had antibiotics for three to four uses — for the family, of course.

People died foolishly quite often. Simple diarrhea will kill you in a few days without medicine, with limited amounts of water.

There were many skin diseases and food poisonings… nothing to it.

Many used local plants and pure alcohol — enough for the short-term, but useless in the long term.

Hygiene is very important, as well as having as much medicine as possible — especially antibiotics.