Saturday, November 17, 2018

Spiritual Preparedness

I've talked about this before, and I realize that some folks just aren't interested in this particular topic, but it is important. Here is what I want to share with you.

Figure out your relationship with God.  This is the most important prep you can make, because the one SHTF event we are all guaranteed to face is our own death. Think about that for a moment. All the things we may be concerned about - an EMP attack, the collapse of the dollar, nuclear war, the Yellowstone super volcano, a worldwide pandemic, or whatever - may not happen in our lifetime, if it happens at all. But death is guaranteed to come for us all. If we spend a lot of time and effort preparing for events that might not happen, shouldn't we spend at least of little time and effort preparing for the one event that will happen? 

Not sure about God? I understand. It certainly took me a long time to figure out my relationship with God. I'm still figuring it out. My suggestions? Pray (a simple "God, if you exist, help me find you" will suffice). Read the Bible. Talk to a Bible-believing pastor or priest about your doubts. Make sure they don't compromise on the Bible being the inerrant Word of God. Too many modern (read: liberal) "pastors" and other "Christians" try to compromise with Worldly Ways by deciding that certain passages (the ones that they don't like or that make them uncomfortable) are irrelevant today. Run far from these fake believers.

All believers should pray daily. "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2). Prayer is the heart of our relationship with God. 

All believers should read/study the Bible daily. "It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’" (Matthew 4:4, in which Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3).

Keep the Sabbath. We are meant to toil, to work, as part of mankind's punishment for the Fall.  But God engraved His example, the pattern of one day in seven for rest, in His Commandments. Set aside the Sabbath as a Holy day of rest, family, and worship. Join with other believers in worship on a regular basis. Christianity isn't meant to be a "do-it-yourself" religion. Christians are meant to be a part of The Church, supporting, encouraging, and helping one another.

Men, be the spiritual leader of your family. Set the example of regular Church attendance,  daily prayer and Bible reading. and living by God's Ways instead of Worldly Ways. Institute daily family devotionals. Pray for your family. Pray with your family. Read the Bible to your family. Better yet, read the Bible with your family. Take responsibility for raising your children to be godly men and women. 

A real men is steadfast in his love for his wife and family. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). We are to put our wife and family first - even to the point of being willing to die for them. This means to put them above ourselves, our career, our friends, or our hobbies. Above even our own egos. [Questions: Do you pray for your wife everyday? When is the last time you lead your wife in prayer?]

Commit to live God's way, rather than by the world's standards. Learn and obey His commandments and teachings. A line form an Orthodox prayer puts it wonderfully: "Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments." Don't compromise with modern world. Don't be embarrassed by accepting the authority of God's Word over the whim of public opinion as the standard for right and wrong. It won't be easy, but will be worth it!
Quick, can you name all Ten Commandments without looking them up? Do you know how Jesus' answer regarding the most important commandment fits in with the Ten Commandments? Hint: the first five tell us how to love God, the second five tell us how to love others.  

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

How To Not Panic In An Emergency

Probably the single most important survival skill is the ability to not panic, to stay calm in the face of danger, adversity, and intense stress. No amount of other skills, gear, supplies, cash, gold, silver, or guns & ammo will save us if we panic when we face a true SHTF event. Panic, and all our preparations are for naught.

So, the most important preparedness question we can ask ourselves becomes How can I remain calm and regain control when under extreme pressure? Although we can never be certain what our reaction to extreme pressure will be until we face it, there are things we can do, and practice, to increase our odds of remaining calm and in control.

A Navy Seal Technique: Box Breathing

You should practice Box Breathing often under normal conditions so you'll be able to remember the technique under pressure, which won't be as easy as you may think. Instructions for Box Breathing:
  • Inhale deeply for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath (lungs full) for 4 seconds
  • Exhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath (lungs empty) for 4 seconds
  • Repeat as needed
More than just a psychological trick, there is actual medical science behind this technique. By using it, you are increasing the nitric oxide levels in your blood, increasing your blood flow, and reducing your blood pressure. These are physical changes that will help you regain or remain in control of your emotions.
Know, Practice, Memorize What To Do In a Crisis

Not knowing what to do, or not remembering what to do, in a crisis can be a cause of panic for many people. Learn now, practice now, and memorize now, what to do in a crisis, and what your priorities should be. I am emphasizing the word now because this is a skill you can learn, but you must learn it before a crisis hits. Its not a skill you can learn "on the fly" during a crisis. 

Two things that are important to learn are the STOP Plan and a set of ordered priorities for any emergency. I've written about both of these in an earlier article, DISASTER!! Tips & priorities for dealing with emergencies. Please read that article for more details, but for now, here are the basics:

The STOP plan (Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.) has been around the emergency preparedness field for a couple of decades now. It is an effective and easy-to-remember method for getting people to think through any emergency situation they are facing, rather than just reacting emotionally. 
>>>Stop. Don't panic. Stay calm. This is a good time to use the Box Breathing method.

>>>Think. Take a moment think about what is happening. You need to make rational decisions, and not react emotionally.

>>>Observe. Look around. What is your situation? What are the threats you face? What resources do you have available to deal with those threats? 

>>>Plan. Decide how you are going to deal with the crisis. Make a plan, share your plan with others with you, and stick to the plan, making changes only in relation to changing circumstances.

Depending on the circumstances, you may have only seconds to do the above. Or you may have hours, days, or even longer. Do the best you can do in the time you have. Thinking through possible scenarios ahead of time helps.   

Knowing the order of priorities in any emergency allows you to focus one step at a time on what is really important, rather than just being overwhelmed by everything at once. Here is a suggested order of priorities:

1) Safety. Quickly remove yourself and others out of the path of immediate danger.

2) Address serious medical concerns. Here is the basic order of concern for most injuries and conditions:
  1. Make sure the person can breathe.
  2. Stop any major bleeding.
  3. Immobilize the neck/back if there is an injury to those regions.
  4. Treat shock, hypothermia, hyperthermia, and/or heart attack. 
  5. Treat dehydration.
  6. Treat broken bones (immobilize/splint).
  7. Treat lesser injuries.
3) Shelter from the elements. This may mean a formal shelter, a tent or other temporary shelter, or just warm clothes, rain gear, and/or a blanket.

4) Water. Clean water is a must in any situation, emergency or not.

5) Food. Last on the list, you can go longer without food than anything else on this list. 

God Helps

A number of people will roll their eyes at this bit of advice. Yet, I know this: My own relationship with God gives me great peace, comfort, and courage, especially in difficult times, as well as a sense of purpose, focus, and an understanding of what my priorities should be. I've adopted Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go," as my personal motto. And, I really do believe God answers prayers and can work miracles. 

I encourage everyone to "get right with God." This won't guarantee you'll never panic, but you'll be surprised how much it does help you face the obstacles and dangers of life. Pray and read the Bible daily. Commit to live God's way, rather than by the world's standards. Learn and obey His commandments and teachings. Keep the Sabbath and join with others in worship on a regular basis. 

Not Sure About God? Please talk to a Bible-believing pastor or priest about your doubts.

The Bottom Line

This article has given you a set of four very important tools to help you deal with any emergency or crisis without panicking.Please read the two other articles linked in this article for even more details, and practice, practice, practice...


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Return of the Gun Grabbers - And How to Fight Back!

"After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it." -- William Burroughs
The gun grabbers are back. Now that the Democrats have retaken the House, they are making no secret of their intention to pass aggressive and sweeping anti-gun and anti self-defense legislation in 2019. Many of the newly elected members are far-left anti-gun fanatics and feel emboldened by their success in the recent election.

Its not just the new members that are planning to gut the Second Amendment. Nancy Pelosi, still the odds-on favorite to be the next Speaker, gave an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo in which she said that gun-control legislation would be a top priority once the new Congress is sworn-in.

Yes, the GOP still holds the Senate, but the establishment GOP have a bad habit of learning the wrong lessons from elections.  And there are a number of GOP Senators who have a history of being very wishy-washy on gun rights, despite their usually pro Second Amendment rhetoric during elections.

Make no mistake, our Second Amendment rights and our Right to Self-Defense are under assault. In the coming year, our elected officials will be deciding on your right of gun ownership and your right to protect yourself and your family.

We must watch the politicians closely. We must pay close attention to our federal, state, and local governments, and fight efforts to curtail our rights on all levels. Two of the best ways to do this is to join forces with others to defend the Second Amendment and to let your elected officials know what you think about our Second Amendment rights.

Organizations fighting for the Second Amendment

A) National Rifle Association (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
B) Gun Owners Association (TwitterWebsite, YouTube)
C) Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
D) National Association for Gun Rights (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)

E) The Second Amendment Foundation (Twitter, Website, Facebook)
F) Law Enforcement Alliance of America (Website)

If you are in Law Enforcement or the Military, consider joining Oath Keepers.  Even if you're not, you can support them by joining as an associate member. You can also sign up for their free email list. Website:    

Contact Federal Elected Officials

  • President Donald Trump - Contact the President of the United States by filling out the online contact form or by calling the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 or the comments line at 202-456-1111 during business hours.
  • Members of the U.S. Congress
    • U.S. Senators - Get contact information for your Senators in the U.S. Senate.
    • U.S. Representatives - Find the website and contact information for your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 Contact State Elected Officials

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Seven Affordable Knives That Make Great Gifts

Here are seven knives (plus a bonus), in no particular order, that make great gifts for preppers, survivalists, homesteaders, and outdoorsmen:
1) Cold Steel Finn Bear - A great general-purpose utility knife for under $20. I've been using one for several years and really like it. It holds up well to heavy-use and is easy to sharpen. Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife - Under $50, this 9.75-inch, full-tang fixed blade knife is a well-designed, high-quality, yet affordable, addition to any survivalist's or outdoorsman's gear.
3) Condor Tool & Knife, Bushlore Camp Knife - Big and tough (10.5 x 3.5 x 1.8 inches ; 12 ounces ), the Condor Bushlore makes a great "beater" knife and will stand up to heavy use under the most rugged conditions. 

4) Victorinox Swiss Army "SwissChamp" - With 33 functions, the SwissChamp is a toolbox for your pocket that’s ready for everything from household quick fixes to the wilds of nature. 
5) Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife - This good quality fixed-blade knife comes with a built-in firestarter, so it is two very important survival tools in one affordable (about $32) package. 

6) KA-BAR US Marine Corps Fighting Knife - A true classic, the Ka Bar' was designed to serve our troops during WW II and is still doing its job, with honors, more than 70 Years later. Cold Steel Finn Wolf Folding Knife - The Finn Wolf is this author's EDC folder. After two years of heavy use, I do highly recommend it.  Japanese Hori Hori Garden Knife - This hybrid knife and garden scoop makes an excellent gift for the gardener in your life. The Hori Hori can do most anything in the garden - weed, dig, prune, transplant, measure, cut, harvest, etc. 


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Friday, November 9, 2018

A Big Mistake Some Preppers Make

Here is a big mistake that some preppers make:  Having an unbalanced approach to preparedness.   

By "unbalanced approach" I mean they put most, if not all, their time, effort & money into one or two (fun) aspects of prepping, while ignoring all the rest.  Some may buy gold and silver; others guns and ammo. Still others may get way into gardening. Which is fine. The mistake they have in common, though, is ignoring all the other (less fun) aspects of prepping to focus exclusively on their preferred prep.Yet preparedness requires attention to a wide variety of potential problems and their solutions, not just the fun ones.

Here is a great example of what I mean: Several years ago when the Doomsday Prepper series was all the rage, a local TV news program did a regular segment featuring local preppers.  One of the "preppers" featured was an somewhat older man (probably early 60s) who showed off his gun collection with great pride. I don't remember the exact number, but it was something like 89 firearms of all types. When they interviewed his wife, she complained that he simply wasn't interested in other aspects of prepping like food and water storage, and they still hadn't gotten those basics squared away yet. 

The gentleman simply wasn't a prepper or survivalist. He was a gun collector. Nothing wrong with that, but simply having a lot of guns doesn't make you prepared, if that is all you are doing.  Being a "prepper" was simply the excuse he gave his wife for buying all those guns.  

I think some folks make be making a similar mistake with gold and silver. The radio and TV ads make it seem simple: buy some gold and silver, then rest comfortably in the knowledge that you are prepared for any economic meltdown or collapse of the dollar. 

Precious metals certainly may have a place in any preparedness plan, but by themselves gold and silver are not a preparedness plan. Once doomsday happens, you are going to need more than just some, or even a lot of, gold and silver to survive.

The solution is simple: Don't concentrate all your efforts into only one or two categories of prepping because they are more fun than other preps.  You need to also do the less fun stuff of getting your finances in order, paying off debt, learning first aid & CPR, learning home repair courses, acquiring hand tools and gardening equipment, learning how to garden, getting you communication plans squared away,  prepping your home security, and accumulating at least a year's worth of food, water, medicine and other supplies, among many other things. 

Here are a couple of articles of mine you may also be interested in:

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Election's Big Loser: Celebrity Endorsements

As if Americans actually care what celebrities think about politics, they came out of the woodwork this election cycle to tell us. And they completely failed.  No matter how hard the celebrities try, they just can't turn their fan base, no matter how large and adoring, into votes for Leftist politicians.

Oprah Winfrey, utterly adored by tens of millions of Americans, went all-out in her endorsement of Stacey Abrams, a far-left democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia. Oprah went so far as to not only endorse Abrams, but make campaign appearances with her and even knocked on doors asking people to vote for Abrams. Also endorsing and campaigning for Abrams was John Legend. 

Abrams lost to GOP candidate Brian Kemp.  So much for Oprah's star power. This failure may further convince Oprah not to run for President in 2020.

But Oprah wasn't the only failed celebrity endorsement of the election. Taylor Swift's surprise endorsement of Phil Bredesen, Marsha Blackburn's democratic opponent for Senate in Tennessee, was loudly proclaimed by the news media, who called it "brave" and "stirring" and other exciting adjectives. Despite this, Bredesen lost to Blackburn. 

In the Florida Governor's race, none other than Diddy (formerly P. Diddy. formerly Puff Daddy, formerly Sean Combs) exercised his star status by endorsing far-left socialist loon and democratic candidate Andrew Gillum for Governor. Diddy went so far as to tell his fans that voting for Gillum was a matter of life and death. "Vote or Die!" was a phrase Diddy used multiple times. Gillum lost to Republican Ron DeSantis.

Ted Cruz's Democrat opponent Beto O’Rourke racked up a number of celebrity endorsements, including basketball legend LeBron James, country music legend Willie Nelson, and pop music legend BeyoncĂ©, among many others. He also raked in tens of millions of dollars for his campaign (and, apparently, to help finance the caravans of illegal aliens from Central America), much of it from Hollywood and celebrity democratic donors. Still, O'Rourke was rejected by Texas voters. 

With this election's many fails, perhaps celebrities will finally get the message: We don't care what you think, just entertain us.  Somehow, I doubt they will.  

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Monday, November 5, 2018

What Churches Can Do To Prepare For Bad Times

Should churches prepare for bad times?

I have no doubt the answer is Yes! The Bible makes it clear that preparedness (both physical and spiritual) is not only prudent, but in fact is commanded by God. If you doubt this fact, please read my article Are preppers and survivalists are failing to trust God? which contains many, many quotes from the Bible. 

Besides. believers are a family. We often call each other "brothers and sisters" even when we are not related by blood or marriage. Jesus has taught us to love one another, to help one another. This is what I mean when I suggest churches get involved in prepping - that we help each other as we struggle to survive tough times that may lie ahead.
What can churches so to prepare for bad times ahead?

1) Admit the need for emergency preparedness.  Yes, at some point Jesus will return and establish His Kingdom and we will all be safe. But until, we will face persecution, danger, and difficult times. In the last few years, we've seen mass shootings at several churches and synagogues. We've seen Christians in America fired from their jobs, harassed, bullied, sued, and even jailed, for standing up for their beliefs. In October, a church in Seattle was fire-bombed while service was in progress. Earlier this year, an Orthodox priest in Charlotte, NC was brutally attached in the church's parking lot early on a Sunday morning. The tactics of bullying, intimidation, and violence being employed by the left against anyone supporting traditional values and beliefs are only growing in intensity. 

2) You don't have to call it "prepping" or "survivalism." Those terms have negative connotations for some people, and may meet with automatic resistance. "Emergency preparedness" or "disaster preparedness" are legitimate names for what I'm suggesting, and may be more acceptable to your fellow church members. Of course, you know your church better than I, so call it whatever you feel is appropriate. 

3) Church security is the place to start.  We want our churches to be open and welcoming to the larger community, but recent events have shown we do need to think about security also. Security cameras covering the entrances and parking lot are a good idea. A multi-camera CCTV system with DVR recorder can be had for under $200 (here's one such system on Amazon). Most churches cannot afford paid security, but perhaps they have police officers or military veterans in the congregation who can act as armed security during services. Really, anyone in the congregation with the proper permits and training can be volunteer security.  

4) Create a church communications plan. Many churches have phone trees (sometimes called prayer trees or prayer chains), in which prayer requests and other information can be spread quickly to all church members. Basically, person A calls two predetermined people, who each in turn call two predetermined people. Those four people each call two people, and so forth until the entire church is notified.  if your church doesn't already have one of these, set one up. It can be used to pass on not just prayer requests, but all sorts of news and information.

5) Start a church community garden. If your church has, or can get access to, some open land, then start a community gardening program. There are many ways this can be done, from one massive garden that everyone works and shares its harvest, to individuals & families being provided smaller plots to garden as they see fit. The garden could be limited to church members only, or it could be opened up a larger community. The community gardening program would also provide encouragement and education to folks wanting to garden in their own yards.

6) Hold classes in food storage and canning. Churches could encourage and educate their members to store food and water. Chances are your church has a number of older members who would love to pass on their knowledge of canning and other food preservation techniques. If not, check your your local agricultural extension office.

7) Hold classes in first aid and CPR. Your church could offer its members courses in first aid and CPR. You many have members already qualified to teach those courses. If not, contact your local fire department or EMS. Many will be happy to work with your church to provide first aid training.

8) Hold classes in budgeting and family finance. Encourage and educate church members on personal finances, budgeting, and becoming debt-free. There are a number of ministries which educate and encourage folks in their personal finances, and a lot of free and low-cost programs and bible studies available. Check out Dave Ramsey's website and radio program. Also, Money Matters with Ken Moraif. And Crown Financial. There may be others.

9) Hold other preparedness classes. Churches could provide occasional or on-going classes in preparedness. How to do this and what subjects to cover are limited only by your imagination. Your church members could also work together to buy supplies in bulk, combining your individual purchases to get the best prices possible.

10) Sponsor scout-like youth groups - Your church could host various types of scouting and scouting-like groups, including Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA. Both are great alternatives to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, which have both now gone all-in on political correctness. Your church can also start its own scout-like group using scouting handbooks (anyone can buy them), but not being connected to the national groups. These programs are a great way to teach young people the values and skills that will help them no matter what life throws their way.

11) Store food and other supplies - A church I attended many years ago had a small room where they stored old coats & jackets, blankets, canned and dried food, baby supplies, and other similar things. These were then given to the homeless or other people in need that would show up at the church from time-to-time asking for help. Your church could do something similar - buying and storing supplies that could be distributed to either church members and/or needy folks in an emergency.

12) Emphasize prayer and discipleship. Our country is in need of prayer. Although we were founded as a nation based on Christian principles, we are no longer a Christian nation. Chances are most of our neighbors are unchurched, many are not believers, and some have never truly heard the Gospel message. It used to be that America took the Gospel to places that had never heard it, such as Africa and Asia. But now, America itself has become a field in need for missionary work. The Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19,20) doesn't just apply to professional missionaries in the far-corners of the globe. It applies to all of us in dealing with our friends and neighbors.

What churches can do to help their members and communities prepare is in no way limited by this short list of twelve things. There are many, many other possibilities, and most also make terrific opportunities to reach out to the unchurched in our communities.

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Are preppers and survivalists failing to trust God?

Ever hear a minister or other person of faith object to the idea of preparedness or survivalism by saying that by doing so we are not trusting God? I have. One way to answer this objection is to point out the hypocrisy of the person making it. Do they have insurance? Do they have a spare tire in their car? Do they have smoke alarms or a fire extinguisher in their house? Do they own a first aid kit? Do they have an IRA or other type of retirement account? Have they taught their children how to call 911? If so, I guess they are failing to trust God, too.

However, the best way to answer this objection is by pointing out all the many passages in both the Old and New Testaments in which God calls for his people to prepare for difficult times in the future. Here are just a few of the passages that deal with preparedness:

"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished." -- Proverbs 27:12 (NKJV)

"The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down." --  Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." -- 1 Timothy 5:8 (HCSB)

"Then He [Jesus] said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." -- Luke 22:36 (NKJV)

"By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." -- Hebrews 11:7 (ESV)

"And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them." -- Genesis 6:21

A host of other verses could be quoted also, including Genesis 41:47-57 (food storage), Exodus 22:2 (self-defense), Psalm 144:1(self-defense training!), Proverbs 6:6-11 (look to the ant's example - constantly prepare for the future), 1 Corinthians 16:13 (stay alert, be brave, be strong), 1 Thessalonians 5:6 (stay alert, situational awareness), and Matthew 25:1-13 (the wisdom of the five prepared virgins compared to the foolishness of the five ill-prepared virgins).

The Bible makes it clear that preparedness (both physical and spiritual) is not only prudent, but in fact is commanded by God. 


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Comments Section Is Open

After some major problems earlier this year (click here for the full scoop), the comments section was closed for several months. As of today, Nov. 4,  the comments section for new posts is reopened. The following rules now apply:

1) NO LINKS may be posted. Comments containing links will automatically be deleted without being read.

2) Anonymous posts may be made. However, I and others are less likely take your comment seriously if you are not willing to attach your name to it. The choice is yours.

3) Debate and disagreements are allowed, but please keep the discussion civil. Name-calling, obscenities, and vulgarity accomplish nothing.

4) Threats of violence against people or property are illegal. As such they will be removed and reported to law-enforcement. 

5) This website is a one-man operation. As such, it may occasionally take up to 24 hours or so for comments to be approved. Please be patient. 

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, and Other Winter Survival Advice

Here are some tips and ideas for Winter Survival:

The Anatomy of Body Heat

A major concern for winter survival is body heat. The human body needs to maintain the core temperature of 98.6° F (37° C). If it gets too low or too high for too long, it could be damaging or even fatal.  Most body heat is lost through the head, neck, hands, and wrists, but this is due to those areas being typically not as well-covered as the other areas of your body. If you were naked, you would lose body heat roughly equally throughout your body.  The hands and feet, especially the fingers and toes, as well as the ears and nose, are more vulnerable to frost bite due to their greater distance from your body core.

Wearing warm, dry socks, and appropriate shoes or boots is important during the winter. Warm gloves and head coverings (such as a wool toboggan or a full Balaclava) are also recommended in cold weather. Keep a bag with extra socks, gloves and toboggans/Balaclavas in your vehicles, just in case.  A warm blanket also makes a good addition to your vehicle kit.  

Frostnip & Frostbite Symptoms & Treatment

Frostnip is a mild form of early frostbite. According to the WebMD website: "When it's cold out, exposed skin may get red or sore. This is called frostnip, and it’s an early warning sign of frostbite. If this happens, find warm shelter quickly."

According to the Mayo Clinic website: "Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Because of skin numbness, you may not realize you have frostbite until someone else points it out."

The symptoms of frostbite include:
  • Early on, cold skin and a prickly sensation (frostnip)
  • Numbness
  • Skin discoloration: red, white, bluish-white, or grayish-yellow
  • Hard skin and/or waxy-looking skin
  • Joint and muscle stiffness, causing clumsiness and difficulty using hands
  • In severe cases, blistering and peeling of skin after rewarming

For frostnip, the Mayo Clinic website recommends rewarming the skin and protecting it from further cold. Frostbite requires medical treatment, especially is the frostbite is severe or is accompanied by increasing pain, swelling, discharge, or fever.  While awaiting medical care, do not walk on frostbitten feet. You may take ibuprofen to reduce pain. 

NOTE: Frostbitten skin is easy to burn, so avoid direct contact with fire, heaters,  lamps, HOT water, and heating pads. While outside, you can warm hands by placing them under your arms. Inside, you can soak hands and feet in WARM (not hot) water.


According to the Mayo Clinic website: "Get emergency medical help if you suspect hypothermia, a condition in which your body loses heat faster than it can be produced.  Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C)" 

Symptoms of hypothermia include:
  • Intense shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Drowsiness and loss of coordination
  • Confusion and/or memory loss
  • Unconsciousness
Hypothermia is a very serious condition. Seek medical help immediately if you suspect someone has hypothermia. In the meantime, here are the first aid recommendations from the Mayo Clinic website:
  • Gently move the person out of the cold. If going indoors isn't possible, protect the person from the wind, especially around the neck and head. Insulate the individual from the cold ground.
  • Gently remove wet clothing. Replace wet things with warm, dry coats or blankets.
  • If further warming is needed, do so gradually. For example, apply warm, dry compresses to the center of the body — neck, chest and groin. The CDC says another option is using an electric blanket, if available. If you use hot water bottles or a chemical hot pack, first wrap it in a towel before applying.
  • Offer the person warm, sweet, nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Begin CPR if the person shows no signs of life, such as breathing, coughing or movement.
  • Do not rewarm the person too quickly, such as with a heating lamp or hot bath.
  • Don't attempt to warm the arms and legs. Heating or massaging the limbs of someone in this condition can stress the heart and lungs.
  • Don't give the person alcohol or cigarettes. Alcohol hinders the rewarming process, and tobacco products interfere with circulation that is needed for rewarming.
Avoid hypothermia by wearing appropriate shoes, socks, clothing, gloves and head/neck coverings for the weather conditions. If you get wet, including heavy sweating, change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Avoid staying outside in cold weather for too long. Older folks, babies, young children, and folks with certain medical conditions (such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and hypothyroidism) are more susceptible to hypothermia. Keep a watchful eye on those folks. 

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter
  • Inspect your tires and make sure they are in good shape.
  • Inspect your wiper blades. Change them if needed.
  • Make sure the anti-freeze level is appropriate for your location (a local mechanic can help you with that if you don't know).
  • Inspect/test your battery, especially if it is more than four years old.
  • Check all fluids and catch up on any routine maintenance to prevent breakdowns (see my Prepper Auto Maintenance Schedule).  
Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including items such as some food and water, first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, extra oil, and jumper cables or battery starter. For winter, include extra gloves and head/neck coverings. A warm blanket is also a good idea, as is a power bar for your phone.

Other Winter Survival Tips
  • Inspect/clean your chimney and wood stove pipes.
  • Don't let fallen leaves pile up against your home (fire hazard).
  • Clean out gutters after the leaves stop falling (safety issue).
  • Turn off and/or cover outside faucets and watering systems.
  • Make sure your home food and water storage are topped off in case winter storms leave you homebound. Same goes for any medications you take.
  • Keep your gas tank topped off. Running out-of-gas is not a good idea in freezing weather.
  • Update your bug-out bag for winter: include dry socks & underwear, gloves, head/neck coverings, poncho, emergency or reflector blanket, cold weather sleeping bag/system, and make sure you have plenty of matches, lighters, and/or firestarters.
Oh yeah... Before I forget, here's one last tip: Don't eat the yellow snow. 
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Gunmen Replicate 2017 Bus Attack Against Egyptian Christians

Christians Suffer Second Violent Attack While Traveling to St. Samuel Monastery

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that on November 2, 2018, masked gunmen attacked a bus of Coptic Christians traveling to St. Samuel Monastery from Minya City, Egypt. According to the Coptic Orthodox Church, seven Christians were killed during today’s attack and 13 were wounded, including children.

Friday’s assault had many similarities to the bus attack which occurred on May 26, 2017. Both buses were traveling to the same destination and the attacks occurred in same location. In last year’s attack, 28 were killed and 23 were wounded. The precision of the 2017 attack led many to believe that it was carefully planned in advance.

No group has claimed responsibility for today’s attack, which resembled similar attacks conducted by ISIS in Egypt.

“Oh God, these children were students in my school!” wept Magda, a local teacher. “I can’t imagine they are dead now!” 

“The micro-bus was from my church,” said Mina, a local Christian.

“The gunmen shot the men in their head and some of the injured are women. They had a nervous breakdown of what they have seen and they are in the hospital. Some women also were killed.”

“Who can accept these incidents?” asked Kirolos, another local believer. “Every day, there are many incidents harming Christians. We must leave our land and get out of here. I’m so exhausted… it’s so dull and dark these days.” 

Coptic Christians make up approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million. They have frequently complained that the authorities have embraced a position of appeasement toward hardline Islamists, thus encouraging an environment which is dangerous for Christians.

“Every official must take the responsibility,” another believer told ICC immediately after today’s attack.  “All at fault must be punished. I think that if every mistaken official was dismissed or fired after every incident, the numbers of these incidents would be decreased.”  

Victims of Friday’s attack are currently being treated at a local hospital and officials remain on the scene of the attack.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Today’s attack was a message sent to Egypt’s Christians that they are not welcome in a land where they have lived for centuries. Deliberate acts of violent persecution are, tragically, the norm in Egypt. Unless the government is more intentional about protecting the rights and security of Christians, these sorts of attacks will continue. We pray for healing for the victims of today’s attack, as well as for their families, and the safety of Egypt’s Christian community.”

----- This article is from a press release by International Christian Concern (ICC), You can visit their website at 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Challenge of Prepping During the Good Times

Prepping during relatively good times can be even more difficult than prepping during the bad times. Yet, prepping is actually easier during good times. 

What do I mean by these two seemingly contradictory statements? Let me explain by examining each:

Why good times are the best times to prep...

During good times, such as the one we're in right now,  jobs are more plentiful, incomes are higher, taxes are lower, and most of us have more money in our pockets to spend however we want.  

Most of us can more readily afford to stock up on our food storage, first aid supplies, medicine & medical supplies, flashlights, radios, batteries, tools, guns & ammo, and other supplies. We can more readily afford to take steps to harden our homes, such as installing security doors, putting up fencing, and so forth. We have some extra cash to buy reference books and to take classes to improve our skills.  

Perhaps more importantly for those of us wanting to move to a safer area, or even to start a homestead, our number one excuse for not doing so disappears. 

The number one reason I hear from folks who want to move for preparedness reasons, but who just can't move, is jobs. We need to work and can't find a job elsewhere (or think we can't). Guess what? There are now more jobs available than there are workers to fill them. This is not only true in the big cities, but also in the small towns and rural areas where many of us want to live. Now is the time we can find a job elsewhere. Or even to go into business for ourselves. 

Why good times are actually harder for prepping...

Good times are actually harder for prepping because there is no sense of urgency. During bad times, with mass layoffs, double digit unemployment, and a daily struggle for most of us to make ends meet, the necessity of preparedness is all too obvious. During good times it is much less obvious.

Then there are the distractions of good times. Sure, you have enough disposable income to acquire your food storage, but you also have enough to acquire that jumbo-sized TV instead. Goodbye boring food storage, and HELLO JUMBO TV!!! All the better to watch multi-millionaire NFL players take a knee, I guess.

Not to forget family.  They love us and understand the need for sacrifice during bad times. During good times they still love us, but also understand the need for a trip to Disney World!!!!!  After all, we now have the money for it. Goodbye home security, HELLO Mickey Mouse.

The fact is, during good times we quickly become spoiled to the good times and forget the lessons we learned the hard way during bad times.

You must answer the challenge.

The challenge of  a lack of urgency combined with a host of distractions during good times must be answered. But it can only be answered for you, by you. You must be forward-looking. You must not get caught up in the misconception that the good times will roll on forever. Is your family worth answering the challenge?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Four Strategies for Surviving a Riot

Regardless of what happens in the election, we are in for a period of even greater civil unrest and political turmoil. Things will get much worse before they get better. Get ready for a chaotic and dangerous few years.

I. Avoid the Riot
The best strategy, of course, is to avoid the riot entirely. If possible, don't live, shop, work, or go to school in riot-likely areas.  Riot-likely areas include Washington, DC, and other large cities and urban areas, especially in inner city areas and near "bad" neighborhoods, or near university and college campuses. 

If you must live or work in these areas, pay attention to current events to know when trouble is brewing. Riots actually are fairly predictable. Pay attention to local news for potential triggers such as controversial police shootings or "racial incidents" that suddenly get a lot of media attention. 

Organized political violence is also on the rise, often attached to planned events - such as political rallies, marches, international conferences, etc. These events are magnets for anarchists, social justice warriors, eco-protestors, ANTIFA, BLM. and other groups looking to cause trouble to make political points, so avoid being in the area during such events. This should be easy to do since these events are announced months ahead of time.

II. Move Away from the Riot

There has been an incident (a police shooting, perhaps) and an angry mob is gathering near your location. It is time to get out of the area. Don't hang around hoping things will calm down. Don't hang around out of curiosity or stubbornness. Get out of the area as soon as possible. This brings up the value of knowing the area, having maps, and a reliable vehicle. 

You meed to know the areas immediately around and between your workplace, home, and schools. You need to know multiple routes out of each location. How do you get home from work (or school) if your main route is blocked for some reason? What if the bridge you have to cross is blocked? What if that major intersection you need to pass through is filled with brick-throwing rioters? Think through all the possible escape routes. Familiarize yourself with them now. By familiarize, I mean actually drive or walk those routes, not just note them on a map.

You need a reliable vehicle to get you out of the area, so make sure you keep up with your vehicles regular maintenance (see my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule). If you do use public transportation, make sure you know the bus/subway/train schedules for all nearby stops. Leave early enough to get out of the area before things get bad, since public transport may be suspended during the riot.

III. Hide/Shelter In-Place
The situation got out-of-hand more quickly than you anticipated. Or the riot zone greatly expanded to engulf the area you are in. Either way, you failed to achieve the two safest options. Now your best bet is to hide, shelter in-place, or otherwise become invisible to the rioting mob. 

If you live in an area that may be prone to riots (large cities and urban areas,  near "bad" neighborhoods, or near university and college campuses), you need to harden your home now and perhaps even create & supply a safe room that can be completely sealed off from the rest of your home. 

If you work in such an area, you need to maintain a survival kit at your workplace or in your car that will enable you to go several  days without returning home. It should include items such as food & water, a personal water filter, a basic first aid kit, extra of medications you take, flashlight and extra batteries, perhaps a poncho and blanket.Your workplace should have emergency items such as fire extinguishers, a more extensive first aid kit, and an emergency radio. Ask if it does, and where they are located.

Most riots are usually over quickly, often by the next morning, and authorities will begin to retake control. But sporadic rioting may go on for days. This illustrates the need to maintain enough food, water, and other supplies to ride out the danger without having to go out in search of those supplies. Everyone, even non-preppers, should maintain at least two weeks worth of food, water, and supplies in their home at all times. More is better.

While you are in the riot zone, do your best to remain well-hidden. Don't make yourself a target. Time for your best gray-man imitation. Get out of your business suit or fancy dress (keep a change of clothes & shoes at your workplace or in your car). Hide any expensive watches or jewelry. Stay away from windows and doorways. Keep lights off. Don't make noise.

IV.  Self-Defense

Self-defense is always a last resort. It means you have failed to avoid or defuse the situation (perhaps through no fault of your own). It means you may have to take a life. It definitely means your life is in grave danger. And in a riot situation, you will almost certainly be greatly outnumbered. Not a good situation to be in.

But, self-defense may become necessary.  It is why it is important to be armed and well-trained. Well-trained means more than just target practice - you need to take a good defensive shooting course (or several).  So, if it is legal to carry where you are, please seriously consider doing so. Know and obey the laws, get all the proper licenses and permits, get well-trained, and practice gun safety, of course. But carry if you can.

Final Thought:  Although riots often occur spontaneously in response to a particular event, we are seeing a sharp rise in organized violence, often funded through layers of shady organizations to hide the real organizers and their real (typically political) motivations. These organizers will only be emboldened or grow more desperate, depending on the November election's outcome, so expect this trend towards organized political violence to not only continue, but to grow. Stay safe.

You may also be interested in my article Preparing for Civil Unrest and Political Turmoil.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Beginner Books" for Preparedness

Maybe you're growing uneasy over the recent gyrations of the stock market and concerns over the ongoing trade war with China. Perhaps the sharp increase in civil unrest and political violence, bullying, and intimidation has you worried. Or it could be understandable alarm over the two illegal migrant caravans, including known MS-13 members and potential ISIS soldiers,  working their way towards our southern border. Whatever the reasons, you are thinking about preparing yourself and your family for whatever future chaos and dangers may come. Here are a few books (and one article) I recommend to get you started.

The following books are especially great for beginners and newbies to prepping, but are still useful to more seasoned preppers. They also make great gifts for family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who may be growing concerned themselves and thinking of prepping.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared by Survivor Jane. Great introduction to preparedness without the technical jargon or doom-and-gloom that might put off many people. Written by a woman especially for women, but newbie men will benefit , too.  LEVEL:  Newbie - Best for those brand new to prepping or still unsure about it. Food Storage & Survival Handbook, by Peggy Layton, has detailed information and lists for everything from an emergency car kit, to a 72-hour emergency kit (aka "bug out" kit), to building stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Included in the book is a section on ideas for apartment dwellers and others with little storage space. LEVEL:  Beginner to Intermediate. I consider this a CORE BOOK for most preppers.
Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper's 52 Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness, by Jim Cobb. This is perfect for the folks looking for a step-by-step, week-by-week, guide to preparedness. Follow this plan and you will be better prepared than 98% of Americans in just a year. Want to prepare faster? Just double up the weeks and you'll be there in just six-months. LEVEL: Beginner.
How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times, by James Wesley, Rawles. Rawles is a well-known name within the survivalist community, and this book gives coverage of most topics within survivalism and prepping, not just food storage and bugging out. It is slightly more advanced then the other books on the list, but still accessible by those new to prepping. LEVEL:
Beginner to Intermediate.
ACEP First Aid Manual, 5th Edition - Everyone, prepper or not, should learn first aid. This first aid manual of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is much more up-to-date (2014) than the American Red Cross manual, which hasn't been updated since 1992. LEVEL: All levels. I consider this a CORE BOOK for all preppers.
The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way, by Dr. Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. This is the second medical book to buy after a good first aid handbook (see above). LEVEL: Intermediate. I consider this a CORE BOOK for most preppers.

There are, of course, lots of other good books for preppers and survivalists, but this is a good list for those just starting the journey.

ARTICLE: A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End, by Tim Gamble (me). As the name indicates, this is a quick, no frills outline of the basics of prepping and survivalism. LEVEL: Beginner.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Do you have a Family Communications Plan?

Do you have a Family Communications Plan? More than just an address book or contact list with phone numbers. a communications plan let's everyone know how and when to get in touch with each other, and what to do if they cannot. After all,  a disaster is unlikely to happen at a convenient and predictable time when everyone is together. Also, phones and Internet my be down during, and even after, a disaster. The situation will be chaotic and confused. communications plan should not only be about two-way communications between family and group members, but is also about listening - gathering news and information about what is going on around you. (It is a good idea to review Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop when developing a communications plan.)
 Communications plans can be quite detailed and extensive, too detailed and extensive to completely cover in a simple article. My goal with this article is encourage folks to develop a communications plan if you don't already have one, and to cover the basics for those just getting started. A more advanced exploration of communications plans can be found in the book Personal Emergency Communications by Andrew Baze.

Do you have an up-to-date list of family, friends, and other contacts? People move, phone numbers change, and email changes even more often - that list you put together five years ago is unlikely to still be current. 

Who should be on your contact list? Everyone who you might need to contact at some point. A partial list:
  • Family (immediate and extended)
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Group members
  • Church members
  • Employers
  • Your kid's school
  • Your mechanic
  • The Tow Service you use
  • Electricians, Plumbers, and other repair services
  • Your Water, Power, and Gas companies
  • Your bank and insurance companies
  • Local hospitals
  • Your Doctors, Dentists, Eye Doctors, Veterinarians, Pharmacy...
  • Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) and other emergency services

Keep a paper master list of all contact information in your home and in your bug-out bag (and maybe at your office or in a safe deposit box). Keep electronic copies of the complete master list on your computer, smart phone, IPad, USB Key and other electronics, too.  All family members should know where these master lists are. Individual family members should also have paper copies of contact information relevant to them. (Your eight year-old probably doesn't need your plumber's phone number, but probably should have Grandma's and Aunt Ida's phone numbers, as well as your cell phone and work numbers.)

Do your kids know how to call 911?  And when they should? When they do, do they know their full name, their parents' full names, and their address and home phone number? My Mother taught early elementary school for years, and says she was constantly surprised by the number of kids she had that didn't know this basic information.

Make sure your kids know what to do if they can't get in touch with you. After trying your home and cell phone numbers, maybe they should try to reach you at a work number? Or maybe try Grandma, then Aunt Ida? Or maybe a neighbor or even your pastor? It depends on your own situation. Think this through now, and make sure your kids know. Maybe give them a prioritized list of numbers to call - try 1 first, then 2, then 3, and so forth...

Should kids have cell phones? This is up to you. There are both positives and negatives to kids having cell phones.  It depends on your circumstances, concerns, and the maturity level of your kids. I personally see no reason for a young kid to have a smart phone, but a basic cell phone may be a good idea. This is especially true as they grow older and start to take part in various non-school and after school activities without you. Remember, you have a right and a duty to monitor their cell phone activities, and to place limits on the use of the cell phone. I know one parent who does not allow her kids to have their cell phones in their rooms at night. This is okay.

Set Up Phone Trees.  Many churches have these (sometimes called prayer trees), in which prayer requests and other information can be spread quickly to all church members. Basically, person A calls two predetermined people, who each in turn call two predetermined people. Those four people each call two people, and so forth until the entire church is notified. Phone trees can be set up not just for churches, but for survival groups, extended families, neighborhoods, businesses, and schools.  Each could have their own set of rules for when and why the phone tree is to be activated.

Do you have a plan for when the phones aren't working? This gets a bit tricky. Phone calls, text messages, and social media are easy ways to communicate. But what happens when the phones and Internet aren't working? Remember, on 9/11 the cell phone system was overwhelmed, and most calls didn't got through? (Note: Text messaging is less likely to be overwhelmed, and may be working even when voice calls aren't.) Perhaps two-way radios or even CB radios can help facilitate communications during grid-down situations. Figure this out and get the necessary equipment and knowledge for your family/group now, so you'll be ready when you need it. 

Messages may have to be delivered in person. Figure out how your family and group might do this, and when. Who will deliver messages and to whom? Having a code phrase might help verify the authenticity of the message. Make it something simple and silly, so that even kids can remember it ("purple elephants" or "unicorn hamburgers"). This way they can verify that the message is from you when a neighbor or weird cousin Eddie from out of state suddenly shows up claiming you sent them.  Written messages should also contain this code phrase. 

You may need to leave messages. Come up with protocols for this possibility and make sure everyone knows them. For example: The grid is down. You have to leave home unexpectedly for some reason. Leave a message in a predetermined place with the details of where you're going and when you might be back. That way if someone shows up looking for you, they'll know where to look for the note. Another example: You show up at Grandma's house. She's not home. Leave a note for her in a predetermined place (maybe taped to the back door?) in case she comes home before you find her. The code phrase could be written on the note to verify its authenticity.  

Listening and gathering information is vital during an emergency. An emergency radio is a vital piece of equipment. You can get weather reports, school and business closings, road closings, local news, national news, and other important information.  With emergency scanners, you can monitor police, fire, EMT, and other emergency and government bands. More advanced preppers might want to get into shortwave and ham radios.
Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio. This is an excellent one, in my opinion: AM/FM/SW/NOAA (weather alert) bands; powered five ways (electrical cord, USB port, AA batteries, solar, and hand-crank); plus flashlight, reading lamp, and cellphone charger.


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