Friday, October 26, 2012

Evacuation plan – Planning to bug out during an emergency

Having an emergency evacuation plan  is critical in any survival situation.  If the SHTF, having a plan of action will put you about 20 steps ahead of the mindless morons who spent their time watching T.V.
evacuating during a disasterYour Evacuation plan should take into account the following things:
Most likely emergency scenarios
Put on your thinking cap! Start to list the most likely emergency situations that can take place. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Civil Unrest, War, Riots,  Nuclear or Terror Attacks, Etc…
Sketch out some ideas of what you would do when the SHTF and put together a custom survival plan for each scenerio.
Stay or Go?
This decision can be huge; each choice has benefits and risks associated with it. Think about what things would have to happen to make you leave your home.  Hint: if you waited for the government to issue mandatory evacuation orders, you waited to long.
Meet up place
When disaster hits there is a good chance that your family may not be together. Now is the time to decide on a family meeting place. Pick a place that is easy to find and make sure each member of your family can find it during an emergency.
Have multiple routes out.
Keep in mind that during a disaster most of the major highways are going to be completely clogged with people trying to get out. Plan now, and map out as many routes as possible. Use Google Maps to print out possible evacuation routes and then laminate the paper so it hold up when you need it.
Don’t forget to print out vehicle and walking routes (hiking trails, railroad tracks, side roads etc… should all be considered.)
Survival Supplies:
What items do you need to survive for 72 hours, a week, a month or even indefinitely? Put together a survival / Bug Out Bag of essential items that you will need to survive each situation.
Your bag should be designed around your family, climate and health. There is no one size fits all bag, so make sure you pack the items that you need to survive.
Where will you go?
Bugging out without a place to go isn’t a plan. Make sure you know where you are going before disaster strikes. If you don’t own land or a second house, then look for areas to camp that can sustain you and your family.
You may also want to look into investing in a bug out vehicle, a 4 season tent or a small travel trailer.

Bug Out Bags for Kids

Bug Out Bag for KidsDo you have a BOB for your kids?
During a SHTF situation it will be important for your kids to feel as safe and secure as possible. Having their own child sized Bug Out Bag filled with familiar items and comfort foods can be a real life saver during an emergency.
With children comfort items often become a top priority to ensure their overall mental health during a SHTF scenario.
What Items should go into a kids bug out bag:
Basic Survival Items: Make sure they are light weight and age appropriate, heavier items and gear should be in the adults bags.
  • Flash light
  • Emergency whistle (clipped to the outside of pack so they can easily find  it if they become separated from you)
  • Laminated emergency contact list with name, home address, and telephone numbers.
  • Pre paid cell phone
  • Poncho
  • Extra socks, pair of gloves and knit hat or bandana (depending on your climate)
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • Small pocket knife for the older kids
  • Band aids & wipes
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer
Comfort Items
  • Stuffed animals
  • A couple small light weight toys
  • Pack of playing cards or travel size games
  • Baseball or small Nerf football
  • Harmonica
  • An Ipod or small device to play games and listen to music
  • Hard candy
  • Bubble gum
  • Sugar packets
  • Trail mix
  • Drink mix packets
Remember a kids bug out bag is not meant to be an adult BOB. It’s main purpose is to comfort your child during a stressful situation and give them a feeling of control. With younger children comfort items are a top priority and will help to ensure their overall mental health.
Make sure you customize the bag for your child’s age, personality and overall fitness level.

Ultralight Bug Out Bags – Lighten your load

Carrying a heavy backpack can be a real pain in the BACK!
The last thing you need in a bug out situation is to be carrying any unnecessary weight. When it comes to Bug Out Bags I take a minimalist approach to what I carry and tend to use a lot of lightweight hiking gear.
ultralight packHere are Six ideas that you can use to cut down the weight in your Bug Out Backpack
Break out the scale
When I’m light hiking I rarely carry over 15 pounds of gear including food and water. It may sound a little crazy but I actually calculate how much each piece of gear weighs on paper before I ever add it to my pack.  Trust me when your a couple days into a long distance thru-hike you will be wishing you would have put a little bit more thought into your packs weight.
Pick backpacking gear that is multipurpose
To cut your packs weight try to select gear that can be used in a number of situations. Items like Bandanas and tarps are great multipurpose pieces of gear that are not only lightweight but can be used in a variety of survival scenarios.
Shed those ounces….
Ultralight hikers are notorious for going to extremes to shave off even a few ounces from their packs weight. From drilling holes in equipment to removing tags, patches and other emblems from their gear light hikers will do just about anything to shed those extra ounces!
While some of the things they do may seem extreme, every little ounce eventually adds up.
Don’t forget the actual Pack!
One thing that’s often overlooked when trying to cut pack weight is the actual weight of the backpack. Ultralight backpacks have gotten so light that you can often shave over 5 pounds from your total weight just by switching to an ultralight pack.
Ditch the tent
If your carrying a tent you can cut your weight in half or more by switching to a tarp and hammock setup. While you can save even more weight by ditching the hammock, I like to carry one in certain areas of the country. They are a great for keeping you off the ground and away from dangerous little critters.
Carry Less Water
klean kanteenA gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. When hiking I try to carry the least amount possible without running the risk of dehydration. When planning yourbug out or evacuation routes make sure you map out as many watering holes as possible. Knowing where you can find water can help you cut down on a significant amount of water weight.
I usually carry a hiking water filter, one full canteen and one empty one. The empty one allows me the option of carrying extra water if I’m in an area where water is scarce. It also serves the dual purpose of being able to cook food our boil water over a campfire.
The canteen that I use is made by Klean Kanteen and is pictured on the right. They are one of the most well made canteens that I’ve found and are a great multipurpose survival item to carry. Click here to check them out on Amazon.

Survival Training

You’ve got your guns.
Your pantry is stocked full of food.
You’ve got so much gear, your bags are ready to explode.
But are you really prepared to survive?
  • Have you run through simulated scenarios?
  • Have you tested your plans and looked for weak points?
  • Do you know how to use every piece of gear in your bag and have you actually tested it?
Gear is great, but when it comes to survival nothing can replace knowledge, and good old fashion practice. To be truly be prepared, you need to start practicing your skills in a real world setting.
Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
Start hiking and backpacking
This will not only help you stay fit, which is an extremely important aspect of survival, but it will also prepare you both mentally and physically in case you have to bug out.
Build a fire pit in your backyard
Building a fire pit in your backyard can help you in a number of ways.
  1. It’s a great spot to practice fire starting techniques.
  2. It’s a great place to practice primitive cooking techniques.
  3. They’re good to have in case you’re ever without power.
Shoot, Shoot & then shoot some more
Whether it’s for hunting or self defense, if you own a firearm it’s your responsibility to train and practice with that weapon.
How tragic would it be if after all of your preparation you found out the hard way that you don’t know how to use your gun? Think I’m being a little over dramatic? Think again!
Every year thousands of gun owners are killed by a criminal because they never learned how to properly use their gun.  From forgetting to take the safety off to not knowing how to shoot, there isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t hear about a tragedy that could have been prevented through training.
Go hunting and fishing
Being able to provide for your family is not something that should be taken lightly. Even during the best of conditions there’s going to be times that you come up empty handed while hunting or fishing.
To give yourself the best chance of survival, you need to learn how to hunt and fish. The more you practice these skills the easier it will be to find food during a survival situation.

Finding the Ultimate Bug Out Property or Survival Retreat

When it comes to buying a survival retreat or bug out location, location really is the key. Here are some of the top considerations that you need to keep in mind when looking for the ultimate bug out location.
Bug Out Location Checklist
Distance – If you’re purchasing a piece of property to serve as a bug out location, then you really need to consider how far that property is from your current home. Any property that you can’t make it to on a single tank of gas should really be reconsidered.
If you’re looking for a fulltime survival retreat, distance isn’t really a problem. In fact, I would think the farther you can get away from the major cities, the better off you will be during a major collapse or SHTF situation.
  • How far is the land from your current location, and would you be able to safely make it there during a crisis situation?
  • How far is the land from high density population areas?
Water Sources – A good reliable water source is one of the most important considerations when choosing a bug out retreat. From fresh water springs and rivers to underground well water, the need for a clean and renewable water source is the number one factor to consider when looking for survival properties.
  • What water sources does the land have?
  • Are they renewable and will they be there year round?
  • Is the property graded in a way that allows for a pond or cistern to catch rain water?
Concealment – The ability to hide or conceal your location may become necessary during a SHTF Bug Out situation. Having a location that provides adequate resources to conceal your living quarters might be another factor in choosing your location.
  • How easy would it be for someone to wander on to your land during a bug out situation?
  • Do the natural features of the land help conceal and shelter you, or are they an obstacle to using the land? This will be a difficult balancing act!
  • Can you easily secure and defend the land?
Self-sufficiency  – Picking a location where you can sustain your lifestyle is another important consideration. From having enough sunlight to maintain a solar system, to picking a location that provides a good amount of firewood to heat your home, the ability to sustain your lifestyle needs to be one of the top concerns on your BOL checklist.
Natural Resource – Another important factor in choosing your property is the area’s natural resources.
  • How easy is it to grow food on your land?
  • Does the area support a decent size population of wild animals for hunting?
  • Can you easily raise livestock on the land?
Cost of Living – Unfortunately, the country is set up in a way that guarantees you never really own your property. From the government seizing homes over zoning issues, to having to pay taxes on a property that you already own free and clear, it seem our government always has its hands in our business.  When considering your location, the cost of living needs to be factored into your plan. Property taxes, cost of local goods and your ability to keep up with your payments are all things that must be considered.
Zoning Issues – As we mentioned above, the government at every level has a way of really screwing with your plans. Make sure you thoroughly investigate local zoning ordinances and find out exactly what you can and can’t build, what permits are needed and how much trouble local zoning officials have been to local residents.
Population Density – During a crisis situation, areas with the highest population densities will experience the most crime, the most social unrest, the highest likelihood for epidemics, and the highest death tolls due to lack of resources and sanitation.  When choosing a bug out location or survival retreat we suggest staying as far away from high density population areas as possible.
Natural Threats – From tornadoes and hurricanes to earthquakes and droughts, natural weather patterns and environmental threats need to thoroughly researched before deciding on a property. Make sure you know exactly what threats you will be facing and how the local climate will effect your ability to grow food, hunt and obtain resources throughout the year.
  • Look at the areas historical data to better get an idea what the location might look like in the future. Take into account things like droughts, flash floods, tornadoes and earthquakes.

What’s a Bug Out Bag?

Most people who have a basic understanding of survival and preparedness understand the need for a good Bug Out Bag. It’s probably one of the most talked about items on survival websites and is something that has become a bit of an iconic symbol for preppers and survivalists. If you haven’t heard of the term Bug Out Bag you may have heard someone refer to it as a; Go Bag, 72 Hour Bag, Get Home Bag, Get out of Dodge bag or some other variation.
The basic idea behind a Bug Out Bag (BOB) is pretty simple. At its most basic, a BOB is a pre-packed bag filled with the gear and supplies you need to survive an emergency situation.  It’s something that you can grab quickly, should a disaster or emergency situation occur that would require you to leave your location.
What items do you really need in your Bug Out Bag?
There really is no One Size Fits All Bug Out Bag solution. When it comes to filling your bag, a number of things need to be thought of; first and foremost should be planning.
Starting with a good plan is really the only way to get started. In order to know what items should go into your bag, you need to consider the following couple of things:
  • What are the most likely disaster situations you will face? Part of truly being prepared for anything, means knowing exactly what situations you’re preparing for. Before buying gear for your bag, It’s a good idea to first figure out what situations you are actually preparing for. This will give you a good idea of what you need to pack, how long you need to pack for, and how much gear you will likely need.
  • What Threats might you face?  Understanding what threats you will face in an emergency situation is a crucial part of the Bug Out Planning Phase. Performing a threat assessment will help you figure out which items you need to pack and which items you can do without. I highly advise reading our article on Pre-Trip Planning for Backpackers it’s filled with information that directly relates to planning for a Bug Out Situation.
  • What are your Strengths & Weaknesses? One of the things I often recommend for anyone serious about preparedness is to perform a SWOT Analysis. A SWOT Analysis is a simple but effective method of really understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses. By honestly assessing your situation, you will not only get a good idea of what areas you need to train in, but you will also get a good idea of what gear will compliment your strengths.
Once you’ve thought about the above considerations, you can then start to pack your bag. While there is no one size fits all solution, we do have a list of some gear that you may want to consider along with a list of some common Bug Out Bag Gear.
Considerations to think about before packing your BOB:
  • Who will be traveling with you? Do they have any special needs or medical conditions that need to be addressed?  Do they have their own bag filled with gear and will their gear compliment your own gear?
  • Do you have a BOB for your kids? During a SHTF situation it will be important for your kids to feel as safe and secure as possible. Having a custom Bug Out Bag filled with familiar items and comfort foods can help defuse a stressful situation and give your child a sense of control. With younger children comfort items are a major priority that will help ensure their mental health during a stressful emergency situation.
  • Are you actually prepared to Bug Out? It may sound like a silly question, but I don’t think most people realize what it’s really going to take to survive in a real-life bug out situation. It’s one thing to talk about bugging out, it’s another thing to carry your gear 10-15 miles a day in dangerous and unforgiving conditions.
  • Do you need more than one bag? Since we have no way to know exactly when and where a disaster will happen, you might want to consider having a bag at home, at your office and in your vehicle.
  • Don’t forget your EDC.  Let’s face it, carrying 30 pounds of gear at all time is pretty impractical. Yes, you can have multiple bags stashed at your home, office and even in your vehicle, but no matter how much you prepare there are going to be times when you may not have access to your BOB. That’s why I suggest always having and carrying an EDC Kit.
  • Do you have an evacuation plan? Having an emergency evacuation plan is one of the most important steps in preparing a Bug Out Bag. Having a BOB is great, but if you don’t have an evacuation plan and a place to go, what’s the point of having a bag?
THE BIG 4 – Water, Shelter, Food, Protection
In my opinion water, food, shelter and protection are the most important things that you can focus on. They are the fundamental building blocks to any good survival bag and should be the foundation that the rest of your gear is built off of.
While some of the items on this list may be considered optional, this is one survival category that’s definitely a necessity. Simply put, without it you’re dead!
Hydration Considerations:
  • Gallon of Water per Day: While your exact needs will depend on a number of factors, including your environment, activity level, and overall health, a good rule of thumb is to carry a gallon of water per day per person.
  • Water Bottles: Having a way to carry and store water is essential to your survival.  I recommend the Klean Kanteen for its ability to carry and boil water right in the bottle.
  • Water Filter: In my opinion a water filter is another important piece of gear. It helps you cut down on your overall water weight and gives you the ability to purify even the most disgusting sources of water. There are  a number of quality water filters on the market, but so far there’s only one that I trust enough to carry in my bags.  I recommend checking out our Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter Review.
Your ability to regulate your internal body temperature, and protect yourself from the elements, is going to be extremely important during any type of survival situation. Shelter is one of those survival necessities that can literally mean the difference between life and death.
The type of shelter you choose will depend on your situation, your environment and your overall ability to improvise shelter from local materials.
Shelter Considerations:
  • Clothing: Although some people might not consider clothing to be shelter, I believe it’s one of the most important items in this category.  In a survival situation the clothes on your back, combined with what’s in your bag, will be your primary source of shelter and protection. Clothing is your first line of defense against the elements and is something that should never be overlooked.
  • Portable Shelters:  Some of the most common items include, a small tent, a lightweight tarp, sleeping bags, a Bivy Bag and even plastic sheeting.
  • Insulation: In a survival situation knowing how to properly insulate yourself and your shelter can mean the difference between life and death.
While food probably won’t become a top priority in a short term emergency situation, it is something that needs to be considered.
When it comes to choosing the right type of survival foods, keep in mind that your caloric needs are going to be much higher than they are today. Energy bars, trail mix, nuts and seeds are all things that take up little room in your pack, but deliver an enormous amount of calories, protein, essential fats and energy producing nutrients.
One important, but often overlooked category is protection. No not that kind of protection, get your mind out of the gutter. The kind of protection I’m talking about is firearms and knives.
The great thing about this category is the items really serve dual purposes. From hunting to protecting yourself from wild animals, criminals and anything that wants to do you harm, protection is one of the top 4 things you need to consider carrying.
The Key to Building the Perfect Bug Out Bag is Testing
You can have the best gear that money can buy, but if you fail to train yourself with that gear, you might as well fill your bag full of candy because it’s not going to do jack shit for you in an emergency situation.
I don’t mean to be harsh, actually yes I do. Your Life Depends on it!
The key to survival is knowledge, testing and training. Please take the time and learn how to use your equipment in a real world setting. Reading about it is one thing, really knowing how to use it in a crisis situation can only be achieved through experience and rigorous training.

EDC Bug Out Kit – Your Every Day Carry Solution

While most Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags,  and 72 hour kits that you read about focus on long term survival, there’s one area that’s often overlooked.
What happens during those times when you can’t carry a bug out bag?
Let’s face it, having a 30 pound bag of gear at your side at all time is pretty impractical. Yes, you can have multiple bags stashed at your home, office and even in your vehicle, but no matter how much you prepare there will be times when you become separated from your gear. That’s why I suggest always having an EDC Kit.
What is an EDC Kit?
Every Day Carry ItemsEDC stands for Every Day Carry, and is made up of items that you should have on your person at all times. They are usually relatively small, but contain everything you need to survive in an emergency situation.
While most of us who are prepared will always have our important gear close at hand, there will be times when we may become separated from our main supply source. In this case having an EDC will help us either get to our main source of gear, or provide us with enough supplies to make it through the emergency at hand.
Examples of Every Day Carry Kits (EDC)
In most cases, your EDC should be small enough to fit in a pocket. It should only include gear and supplies that you feel are absolutely necessary to help you survive.
The Infamous Altoids Survival Kit:
altoids tin survival kit
The Tin Kits are a great way to pack a bunch of survival supplies into one little easy to carry kit. This specific kit has:
  • Pocket Knife (Swiss Army Style)
  • Basic Medical Supplies (Butterfly bandages, tweezers, scalpel blades, & small magnifying glass which can also be used for starting fires)
  • Spool of Dental Floss (Dual Purpose uses; cordage, fishing line, medical uses such as suturing wounds)
  • Tinder (Cotton shoved into all the little crevices)
  • A couple needles, fishing hooks & weights, zip ties)
  • Bic lighter & a couple half match sticks with striker in plastic wrap.
  • Small LED flash light
  • Bandana wrapped around the case.
Compact Knife Sheath Kit:
Personally I like to carry a knife that packs a little bit more of a punch. This kit allows me to carry a decent size knife while being able to add a number of items right to the front pocket of the Sheath. In this case I am showing the SOG Seal PUP Elite with Nylon Sheath.
SOG Knife Sheath with Survival Items
SOG Sheath Survival Kit
The Knife Sheath kit fits:
  • The SOG Seal Pup Knife
  • A Lighter Wrapped with Duct Tape & then fishing line (in between the line and the tape there are a couple needles and fishing hooks.)
  • SOG Mulitool
  • Mini LED Flashlight
  • 550 Paracord Wrapper
Other items that you should always carry as part of your EDC:

10 Tips for Preppers to Prepare for SHTF Situations

Being prepared really isn’t that complicated, it just takes a willingness to do something about your situation. If you haven’t started prepping, it’s time to start taking the decisive actions you need to take, to keep yourself and your family safe.
Here are 10 ideas that can help get you started:
Part of truly being prepared for anything, means knowing exactly what threats you’re facing and then analyzing how those threats will effect you in the future. By performing a realistic threat assessment, you can get a better idea of what threats you’re facing and learn how to prepare for those threats in the future.
When your just getting started in the world of prepping, preparing for an EMP or an asteroid hitting the earth is probably not the best course of action. While both of those scenarios are scary, the probability of them happening is pretty low. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t prep for these things, I’m just suggesting that you prep for the most likely dangers first.
Performing a SWOT Analysis is a great way to determine how prepared you really are. A SWOT Analysis is a simple but useful method of pinpointing your Strengths and Weaknesses, and will also help you identify Opportunities that you can exploit, and Threats that you might face in a SHTF situation.
It’s great to be prepared for an end of days scenario but what happens when you’re faced with a foreclosure or the possibility of living on the streets? Is that not a survival situation?  To be truly prepared for the worst we must also think of our financial security. That means paying off debt, living within our means and starting an emergency fund.
No matter what survival situation you may ultimately find yourself in, there is one thing that you’ll likely find, survival is going to be hell on your body. One of the best things you can do to ensure your survival, in just about any situation, is to make sure your body and your mind are trained and prepared to survive. This means motivating yourself to get off your butt and get in shape.
To really be able to rely on your knowledge when the SHTF, you need to run through your techniques in a number of scenarios and environments. The more you train in real world situations, the more likely you are to be able to perform these skills in a high stress survival scenario.
Survival isn’t glamorous and it’s nothing like what’s depicted on T.V. Survival is down right brutal and will beat the hell out of you not only physically but emotionally as well. Don’t overlook the importance of cultivating a mindset that will allow you to face lives greatest challenges.
In a survival situation, knowledge is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation. The ability to be able to predict what will happen in a survival situation is an important part of being prepared. Start gathering a list of trusted resources and information sources that can help you prepare for whatever the future has in store.
Many preppers talk about the prospects of bugging out, but how many of them have the skills or the strength to actually do it? It’s one thing to talk about bugging out, it’s another thing to carry your gear 10-15 miles a day in dangerous and unforgiving conditions.
During a SHTF situation, maintaining a sense of normalcy is going to be a very important concern when dealing with children. With children, comfort items can go a long way in helping them feel as safe and secure as possible. Don’t overlook how important it will become to give them a sense of comfort and control during a stressful SHTF situation.