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  1. Should you prep for compassion?

    While exploring what peoples’ views are on prepping and survival, a few things have occurred to me. Firstly, a lot of what folks write in online groups and forums about what they would do in certain situations seems to be fake, or in the least tongue-in-cheek (hopefully).
     
    I’ve seen people react to emergencies in some downright disturbing ways, such as noticing a figure in the middle of a rural road while bugging out, and just deciding to run them over. No…no checking to see who the person is or if they may need assistance. A few people even said that they would speed up in order not to be slowed down by the “human road kill.”
     
    I wonder how some of these same folks would react if that prone figure on the road was a relative or loved one of theirs. What if they didn’t immediately know it was and after running the person over, realized their little error? I bet a lot of the same guffaws and insolent back-slapping would come to a screeching halt.
     
    Firstly, the psychological trauma that anyone with a conscious would have to carry with them in the aftermath of leaving someone behind who they could have helped would seem to be enough. Ditching a loved one would surely be quite traumatic, unless one was a complete socio or psychopath.
     
    That brought me to another matter: Elderly family members. I haven’t seen much discussion on what people would do in order to help their parents or grandparents who aren’t as mobile as us younger folk. I wondered how many people would still bug-out and attempt to take their slower relatives with them, and who would decide to just leave them behind? How many people out there have family members who don’t live in their same state? Would their elders be on their own in that case, or have they helped them to prepare in case they’re not around?
     
    One instance in particular really had me thinking. What if a person has elders that weren’t really mobile but lived nearby? If the plan was to bug-out would these slower relatives be left behind? With all of the prior flapping about running over folks and what not, would this same psychotic attitude also pervade?
     
    In the case of a government shut-down or some other similar emergency situation, these older folks would be especially vulnerable to roving bands of bandits and other opportunists. Would there be any plans to “bug-in” and protect them from the home front, or are they not factored into anyone’s preparedness equations?
     
    By all accounts, we live in a very ageist society where our elders are more or less seen as expendable, while the strong and the young get all of the attention, and feverish idolization. Hopefully, we’ll see a little more compassion toward our fellow potential survivors out there, and maybe even a little more attention paid to our elders, not to mention those with special needs.
     
    Personally, I’d rather hole up and make a stand with someone who is older, wiser, has a backbone, and these little things called ethics, rather than ride out with some opportunistic psychopaths with no qualms about snuffing people out randomly.
     
    Have you made emergency preparedness plans for elders in your own family? If so, what do they entail?  

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  2. While recently visiting a prepper forum, I came across a thread in which a person was asking forum members why they prepped. Because of the sarcastic manner in which this newcomer asked and responded to the members, whom were genuinely attempting to be helpful by revealing why they felt it important to engage in preparedness practices, I soon determined that it had all been a not-so-elaborate troll job.

    By the time the others began to realize that they had been snookered by a big fat troll, the original poster had long since vanished, leaving a trail of bewildered forum members scratching their heads. Unbeknownst to the troll however, he or she had twanged a curious chord within me.

    I started asking myself what prepping meant to not only myself and my family, but also my community as well as others. Why all the “fuss” about getting things ready for whatever potential calamity – real or perceived –  might befall us and our loved ones? Is prepping only practiced by “doom and gloom” types who wake up every day thinking that the sky may fall?

    I reckoned that undertaking this very basic query was a serious task since just about all of us have a deep and primal need for not only self-preservation, but also the preservation of loved ones whom we care about, and don’t want to see harmed or compromised in any way.

    I asked people throughout my social media networks what they considered to be a more likely catastrophe which could realistically befall us. For instance, a sudden global climate change as featured in the prescient film “The Day After Tomorrow,” or maybe a nuclear conflict or terrorist attack which reduced parts of the US to ashes. I even brought up the possibility of suffering a highly contagious global pandemic which rapidly decimated entire swaths of the human and animal populations.

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    The answers and resulting discussions were fascinating and also rather unexpected; many thought that a rapid shift in our global climate was most likely. I figured that this was due to fact that scientists have recently been able to synthesize what was formerly patches and tidbits of data and information here and there; and begin to connect the dots if you will. The data presented by these “thousand-aires” are much more believable since they aren’t backed by the millions and billions of gigantic corporate conglomerates and their lackeys.

    I’d also heard a number of years back that only 4 % of ship cargo containers which are bound for the US are actually inspected. And through recent research I confirmed that frightening figure to be factual as per a recent Bloomberg.com report. I was a little off however; 4.1% of US bound shipping containers are actually checked. This statistic combined with my belief that our society is one which tries to patch up and improve preventative mechanisms AFTER disasters occur (airport security and 9-11 for instance), amounts to some pretty scary possibilities.
    Forget a backpack nuke being shipped in one of those gigantic containers; some bad people who don’t like us very much could fit a full sized nuclear device in one of them, or maybe even a chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.

    An equally pragmatic concern is the porous border that we share with our neighbors to the south. Full-scale terrorist training camps are already up and running in Mexico, and they’ve allied themselves with the ever-deadly drug cartels. Not only do we now have Arabic Muslim extremist very close at hand, but also radicalized Mexican terrorists to think about. Bringing up the backpack nuke once again; what’s to stop one of those fine folks from strapping one on, hopping, skipping, or jumping over the Rio Grande, and detonating it in a large metropolitan area?

    What about the fact that the Chinese, whom the US has had a long, unstable relationship with, have moved into Mexico (in droves) as well, and are buying property up left-and-right as their country begins to implode? As one intrepid, award-winning reporter, Joshua Philipp recently uncovered, China is smuggling the precursors for methamphetamine into Mexico for grand-scale manufacture and distribution; it’s all just business to them. And before someone blames the US, saying that we’re leading the pack with regards to providing the most demand for these horrific narcotics, Mexico is the big new market with addiction rates higher than those in North America.

    In the Southern United States, people aren’t too happy about the already dangerous drug-wars that are starting to spill out over the border and into their backyards. Now there is the very real potential for it escalating to a whole new and hyper-violent level, putting many innocent people in the path of many clear and present dangers.

    No, I’m not trying to make anyone out there even more paranoid about today’s highly volatile times; I’m simply pointing out that there are some really concrete concerns that might be wise to address, or at least prepare for. Even if one thinks that a sudden catastrophic climate change is a little too fantastical, a giant, devastating terrorist attack which makes all previous ones look small by comparison is a distinct and pragmatic concern to consider.

    Whatever the threat, being prepared for some such emergency situation is not only smart in my book, but necessary if one wants to have an edge; survival-wise. What’s more important than being of service not only to your family, but also your, fellow less-prepared neighbor?

    As a training Sergeant once told me back in my military days while talking about the importance of keeping our rifles close at hand (and therefore prepared for any situation): “It’s better to have it and not need it; than to need it and not have it!” I tend to agree with that rather unassailable logic.

    Good luck in your prepping endeavors, and feel firmly comfortable with the knowledge that being a prepper/survivalist is no longer concomitant with occupying the fringes of American consciousness; it’s an increasingly popular trend which has a potential for usefulness should the need arise. 

    Rising Storm - Ian Kane's first novel in the epic Fading Empires saga, is almost here. Grab your pre-launch copies now!


           Check out Ian Kane's new book series, featuring
           near-future survivalists and preppers:


           Established empires are fading and altered realities
           embrace a sinister future. Fading Empires is a time
           and place where unlikely heroes, scheming villains,
           monstrous entities, and ruthless super-gangs clash
           for dominance.


           Rising Storm is the first book in the epic,
           twelve-part Fading Empires saga, to be
           officially launched in May 2014.


           Pre-launch copies available now:
     
           Paperback & Kindle: http://amzn.to/16hx8JX
           Nook: http://bit.ly/16lMesw
           iTunes: http://bit.ly/1fc4vhk
           Kobo: http://bit.ly/1b2EAED 




      
      


  3. Putting together a basic kit.                        

    If you are just beginning to prepare for an emergency or disaster one of the first things you should do is put together a basic kit.  This first kit should be the basis for your other kits such as an auto kit, a 3 day emergency kit, home kit, office kit and others.
     
    Almost all kits contain the same basic items but then each kit should be personalized for who will use it and for its function.  For now let’s concentrate on the basics, I will get into more detail in the next series of posts.
     
    The first item you will need is a container to put your items in.  This container is usually a backpack, but it could also be a purse, luggage, a bucket with a handle and lid, or maybe even a plastic bin (I mostly use bins for food storage because they are easy to stack).  You can use a bin when you are starting out but it would be much better to keep your items in something that easy to grab and carry if you have to leave in a hurry.  Old purses and luggage are easy to grab in a hurry and make a good choice of container for starting out, but they are not easy to carry for a long time.  Buckets that have a handle and a lid are excellent containers for long term food storage, they can be moved and stacked easily but very inconvenient for carrying around in an emergency. 
     
    Backpacks are preferred for survival kits because they can be grabbed quickly and easily, carry a lot of supplies and they can also be worn on your back comfortably.  This will allow you move more quickly and keep both hands free.
     
    Now let’s consider the basic items you should have in your survival kit. 
     
    Food and Water: The amount of food and water to include in your kit depends on the purpose of the kit and who will use the kit.  For this discussion you will need a minimum of a couple bottles of water and 3 or 4 energy bars to get you through several hours to at most 1 day.  The main point is that you have some food and water in your kit.  You should also have water purification tablets.
     
    Matches, Lighters and Kindling: Make sure you have a box or 2 of waterproof matches and several lighters.  They can be used for lighting fires for warmth, cooking food, signaling for help and for illumination.  You can use cardboard boxes and tubes, pencil shavings, drier lint, paper, anything light and flammable for kindling.  Put your kindling in a couple Ziploc baggies to keep it dry.
     
    Flashlight: You will need a least 1 small flashlight but I would suggest having several.  Use smaller flashlight for basic kits.  They aren’t very heavy and they take up less space.  Make sure you also have replacement batteries.
     
    Candles: Keep a couple of candles in your kit for several hours of lighting, that way you won’t use up all your batteries.
     
    Radio: A radio will keep you informed of any news and alerts in your area, plus it is a source of entertainment.  Make sure you have headphones just in case you want to listen without announcing your presence.  Be sure to have several sets of replacement batteries.
     
    Whistle: The whistle is to alert people to your presence for help and rescue.  It can also deter attackers.  Make sure your whistle is good and loud.
     
    Pencil: You can use the pencil to leave messages or write out your thoughts.  You can also use the pencil shaving as kindling.  I keep a couple in my kits.
     
    Paper: Keep several sheets of paper in your kit.  It can used to write messages on and it can be wadded up for kindling to start a fire.
     
    Pencil Sharpener: Used to sharpen the pencil and to get pencil shavings to use as kindling.  It also has a blade in it that you can use for cutting.
     
    Pocket Knife: You need to have at least one good sharp knife.  A Swiss Army knife is good because it comes with several different tools but you may also want a good strong knife for chopping.  Buck and Gerber make excellent knives for survival.  Make sure your knives are very sharp.
                                                                                                        
    Rope: Rope has a thousand and one uses.  Keep at least 50 feet in your kit.
     
    Sewing Kit: The sewing kit is handy to repair rips and tears in your clothing.
     
    Survival Blankets: Blankets made out of cloth are nice to have but they take up a lot of space in your kit.  Instead, use a couple of those shiny survival blankets.  They will keep you warm and they take up very little space in your kit.
     
    Rain Poncho: The rain poncho will not only keep you dry but it can also add an extra layer of warmth.  It can also be used for shelter.
     
    Several Plastic Garbage Bags: The plastic bags can be used for many things such as a poncho, shelter, sleeping bag, to keep your items dry, as well as a place to put your garbage.
     
    Compass: The compass will help you keep going in the right direction.
     
    Tent: In your basic kit you don’t need a fancy tent.  They take up a lot of space and they can be very heavy.  Instead, use a simple and inexpensive tube tent.  It doesn’t take up very much space and it weighs very little but it will get you through the night.
     
    Survival Sleeping Bag: Sleeping bags are very big and bulky so carry a couple of those shiny survival sleeping bags instead.  They are very lightweight, compact and they will keep you very warm throughout the night.
     
    Respirator Dust Mask: A NIOSH approved N95 respirator dust mask will help protect you from getting the common cold, the flu, and from getting other infectious viruses.  It will also protect your lungs from dust and debris.
     
    First Aid Kit: The first aid kit should include several types of bandages along with a gauze roll, gauze pads, alcohol swabs, tape, and antiseptic pads.
     
    Hygiene Kit: the hygiene kit should include a toothbrush, toothpaste, bar of soap, wet naps, washcloth, and any female products that you may be need.
     
    Toilet Paper/Tissue: What can I say, we all have to go at some time and tissue is much better than leaves and other things you find lying around outside.
     
    Wet Naps: These are for easy clean up so you don’t waste water.  They can also help you cool down by wiping it on your face and arms.  Don’t throw them away after they have been used.  You can always reuse them by soaking them in water, or you can use them as a rag.
     
    Deck of Playing Cards: The cards are for entertainment or kindling if you are in a pinch.
     
    These are some of the basic items that you will want to have in your kit.  But there are many other items and products out there that you may also want to include in your basic kit.  For instance you may wish to carry an extra set of clothes and/or some kind of weapon.  As I said before there are many different types of kits and they should all be personalized for the function of the kit as well as who will be using it.  You may already be thinking of several items you would want to include in your kit other than the items listed above.  The items above are listed because I keep them in my own kits and because each of them can be used for multiple tasks, are backups in case another item fails, or are simply required to survive at least one night.  Plus all of these items are inexpensive and will fit in a backpack with plenty of room to spare for other items I may wish to carry.
     
    You can get most of these items at Walmart or any other outdoor supply store.  You can also purchase completed kits online at www.survivalplankits.com.  If you have any questions or would like to comment on this post please feel free to leave a comment below.

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