In my opinion, these are the best of the best of survival and preparedness articles gleaned from the 'net.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Household Items for Self Defense

Self defense is always an important concern with rising crime rates due to a struggling economy. While many homeowners own guns of some sort for personal protection, these may not always be readily available. Being able to adapt to adversity by utilizing common everyday items for your defense only requires a little quick thinking on your part.

Remember the basics. Most criminals are opportunists and failure to lock your doors or close and secure windows will give them the opportunity they are looking for and will leave you in a vulnerable position. Don’t create a situation where you are vulnerable from the start. Even without a firearm that is handy, you should never consider yourself defenseless.

When utilizing everyday items in a defensive manner, you should always seek those areas of the body that are the most vulnerable such as the eyes, throat area, groin etc. As an added bonus, most household items won’t carry the same legal consequences as a firearm or hunting knife but can often be sufficient to thwart an assailant or an attacker.

Here are just a few examples of household items that can be utilized for self defense.

1.) Pens and pencils.

2.) A roll of coins (a roll of quarters works great) in your fist for a little extra “punch”.

3.) Car keys are great for poking and scratching.

4.) A cane, broom handle or walking stick. They make excellent improvised clubs.

5.) Small heavy objects like a can of food, a skillet, a lamp, heavy vase, fire extinguisher etc. make excellent improvised weapons.

6.) A hot cup of liquid such as coffee, soup etc. That heavy coffee mug you lug around every morning even comes with a handle and can have as big an effect as a club.

7.) Baseball bat, golf clubs etc. These can have a devastating effect on an assailant.

8.) Umbrella. Most have a nice pointed tip.

9.) Aerosol sprays. Wasp and hornet spray shoots up to 20 feet and can easily blind an assailant.

10.) Kitchen utensils such as knives, forks, pots and pans etc.


Most weapons are designed to give you an advantage over an assailant or attacker and many household items can do just that. Being able to defend yourself is important and the advantage can be yours by being able to improvise when necessary to defend yourself, your family and your home. The next time you’re strolling through the house, take a good look around you and you might see just how many improvised weapons you have available for your self defense.

Got big coffee mug for self defense?
Staying above the water line!
Riverwalker


Long Term Situational Awareness Can Give You The Edge, by Todd S.

I’ve been fortunate to live in the same general area for my entire adult life, the Rocky Mountains of Utah. I am very familiar with the area made more so by various employments, a variety of interests all centered around the outdoors and twenty years of being a Scout Master. Being familiar with my surroundings for a long period of time increases my knowledge base of useful things to know, information unique to my immediate surroundings.
    
I have always been curious and a great observer, of both people and things.  Some years ago my brother mentioned something to me when we were talking about being prepared if anything big should happen. At the time he worked for a national car wash company, traveling around the region inspecting various car washes.  He said he didn’t need to store a fresh water supply because all of the car washes have enormous tanks of fresh water underground; most have more than 2,000 gallons. People didn’t know this so he figured he could use these as a source for fresh water. 
    
A light bulb went off in my head. This conversation was the start of what I call my Long Term Situational Awareness. I am always on the look out for information that could help me if I have to G.O.O.D. or heaven forbid if TEOTWAWKI happens; information, places and people that I store away in my data banks so I don’t have to figure it out on the run. For example the water tanks underneath car washes, I might have figured that out eventually, but now I know right where to head.
    
Here are some of the things I have made mental notes about that I think will give me an edge.  Maybe you can keep an eye out for this stuff in your immediate vicinity.  The longer you are in the same area, the more information you can collect.  The more stuff you know, the better your odds are of getting out and surviving.
    
ESCAPE ROUTES
: Where I live we our bound on the West by a harsh desert environment, not a good escape route.  To the East are mountains, which I know intimately from hunting and camping, especially every paved and dirt road in an out of them for fifty miles. It would take several road blocks to prevent me from getting where I wanted to go if I choose to go that direction.  This direction is my choice if evasion or defense is the highest priority.

There is only one North South freeway, which of course would prove completely useless. A bottle neck of both surface streets and alternate routes to the South make this direction a bad choice.  To the North, a bottle neck of alternate routes is still passable but not ideal. A little known closed rail road line, (Google Earth is a great source to start looking for these kinds of routes.) is only blocked by a flimsy gate. It bypasses the bottleneck by twenty miles.  A friend showed me this years ago as an access to some hunting ground.  I realized its other potential as an escape route and have never forgotten it. If I have to bug out, I’m going north.
FOOD: We all know the grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants will be looted first.  I’ve noted several places that might be over looked at least during the first few days. I keyed in an idea several years ago that anyplace that serves meals to large groups of people will have stores of food.

There are two small convention centers within five miles of my house.  They are not in a retail, shopping or restaurant area, they are in the office and business districts.  I go to both several times a year.  Every night of the week they cook and serve dinner for several hundred people. The convention centers have storage rooms and commercial kitchens that will probably be overlooked in the first few days [of a societal collapse].
    
Any place with a snack bar, especially in an overlooked area, is a great source for food supplies.  I know of three indoor soccer arenas with snack bars.  All are in warehouse and industrial areas. All of them have snack bars and I’ve noted where the storage rooms are for the snack bars.  Two of the soccer arenas are on my bug out route.

The last several years I have seen an explosion of small gyms, many in strip malls and professional office districts.  Nearly all of these small gyms have supplies of nutrition and protein bars, bottled water and re-hydration drinks. Most will be overlooked the first few days.
    
Most Boy Scout camps store and cook food for hundreds of people everyday. I know of at least a dozen scout camps along different travel routes.

We have three, regional food distribution centers. These will be hit hard, but I know where they are and won’t have to look for them in the telephone book. What might be overlooked are the restaurant food supply companies. Not only might their warehouses be missed at first, some people might walk right pass a SYSCO semi truck and not realize it is filled with food. One semi truck from a restaurant supplier and I’m set.  I know the names of all the suppliers and their logos.
    
Fuel
:  Two miles from my home is a warehouse complex with over two hundred companies and a thousand semi-trucks, all with big fuel tanks, going in and out every day. It will obviously be looted, but it is so large the out lying trucks and smaller ware houses will go unnoticed at first.
    
Excavator companies and large construction companies often store their own fuel
. I’ve hired several of these companies and have identified three that are located in areas that may be easily overlooked.

There is farmland all around me.  Many farmers store fuel.  This would be a last resort for me because they also have guns, know how to shoot, are willing to shoot and if any group will survive WTSHTF it will be farmers.
TEOTWAWKI         
A few random notes I’ve taken over the years in case I find myself in TEOTWAWKI situation. I know where three large sheep herds and two large herds of cattle graze in the summer. I know where a high-fence elk hunting outfit is located with 300 head of elk. I know of three small residential subdivisions in the mountains that are self sustaining, on there own wells and solar powered. I know of three large snowmobiling lodges in the mountains that are self sustaining.  They are virtually abandoned six months out of the year.  I know where a small, private fish farm, surrounded by a hundred fruit trees can be found two miles past a locked gate. I know where all of the wildlife resources fish hatcheries are. I know where a rancher has sixty head of domesticated buffalo penned in a remote mountain valley.
    
All of these observations have taken no extra time and effort, simply the realization that someday I may need to know this stuff and it would be a good idea to remember them.  Keep your eyes and ears open, you never know what will pop out at you if you’re looking for it.   You never know what piece of information you store in your data banks will give you the critical edge.
JWR Adds: Most of the foregoing would only be appropriate in the aftermath of a situation with massive depopulation, such as a pandemic. In anything lesser, appropriating "abandoned" supplies would simply be unconscionable theft, because those supplies would still have rightful owners. There have also been several discussions in SurvivalBlog about the inadvisability of crossing private land that belong to someone else. Even worse is shooting someone's livestock. In essence, that is just a good way to get yourself ventilated, in the event of a societal collapse. I have posted this just to show SurvivalBlog readers one sort of threat that they will face. It is encapsulates the horribly astray and ill-advised "justified looting" mentality. Keep plenty of .308 ammo on hand. You may need it.

Nuke your hometown

Well, at least see what the blast radius would be. Cool simulator--plug in the warhead yield, drag the Google Map to your hometown and there you have it! Fun stuff.

High Yield Detonation Effect Simulator >

There is more to TEOTWAWKI than sheep and wolves

I was riding home the other day, and I was listening to a survival/prepper podcast when my mind wandered. I was pondering the analogy of Wolves, Sheepdogs and Sheep.  I think it is a better analogy that it is at first glance.
Rawles wants to be a sheepdog. A protector and guide for the sheep of the world. That’s an admirable quality, but a dog is nothing more than a domesticated wolf.  Just as a dog will sometimes turn on it’s master, a sheepdog would revert to being a wolf under the right circumstances. I aim to be a guide and protector to the lost sheep, but if the sheep take advantage, you’ll see the wolf quite quickly.
Wolves are the least of the troubles we will face after a societal collapse. To continue the analogy, jackals, hyenas and bears will prowl the world. Jackals will live off the fringes of what’s left of society, but will only attack when the sheep are heavily armed and outnumbered. Hyenas will scavenge, but will turn to violence quicker, and are not afraid to take out another predator for it’s “kill”. Bears are real dangerous. Think of them as well armed and armored assault squads. Ex-soldiers or police who retain their equipment, but are loners, would likely become bears. Survivalists who take a rifle and backpack into the woods to “survive” might become jackals or bears.
The lesson in all this is to break down patterns of behavior and figure out how to deal with it. Sheep are easy to scare off, and are really looking for some leadership. Sheepdogs can be befriended, but when things go real bad, watch out they may bite. Jackals are persistent, but can be scared off. Hyenas need to be watched but a well-organized defense will make them move to easier prey. Wolves and Bears can be a real problem, so watch out for signs and take appropriate steps for defense. Vary guard shift changes, alter patrol schedules and so on. Wolves work in packs, and over time develop tactics that can take out fortified strongpoints.
I hope this got you thinking, if you think of other post-TEOTWAWKI archtypes post them in the comments!

Here’s a pat on the back for the Y2Kers

This may come as a surprise to you, but I want to give all Y2K’ers a big pat on the back, maybe even a little hug.  They have really gotten a bum rap since January 1, 20o0.
In 1999, thousands and thousands of Americans, and others around the world, began stocking up on MREs, water, toilet paper, and who knows what else.  Many people overspent on their preparations, and when it was obvious that nothing bad was going to come from the clock ticking that final second of 1999, they had to return to work and face their skeptics and put up with the mockery from their own family and friends.  Then, had to recoup their financial losses by selling their stocked goods on ebay and in garage sales.  That couldn’t have been fun!
y2k Heres a pat on the back for the Y2Kersimage by mykl raventine
Here is where they have my admiration, though.  In 1999, our economy was strong, our country was secure, and life in America was great.  These cautious Y2Kers looked at the stability around them and went ahead anyway with their stocking up.  It took a lot of courage to look at an uncertain future, and in the midst of security and prosperity say, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure my family and I are safe.”  That’s not much different from preparing for a hurricane that suddenly changes its’ track and heads in a different direction.
It’s very difficult, in this day of instant news, to separate hype from truth, and the media was certainly doing everything it could to increase the hype back in 1999.  Heck, the same thing happened last year with the Swine Flu “pandemic.”  How many of us were toting bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere we went?
The downfall of Y2K preparedness was that it focused on a single event.  Today, preppers are taking a much longer view of things, knowing that preparedness efforts put into place today might not be needed for months or even years.  That’s why we talk so much about taking practical steps and putting to use what you store.  Some preppers choose to increase their preparedness by becoming trained in practical skills, something always in demand.
Our future now is far more uncertain than it was back in 1999, but many of those who stocked up for Y2K are saying, “Never again!” If you’re in that group, I want to encourage you to take a closer look at our economy, the state of our nation’s security, and even your readiness for severe weather events or a job loss, and take just a few baby steps to prepare.  I promise, you don’t have to purchase another MRE if you don’t want.  Freeze-dried macaroni and cheese is much tastier!
© 2010, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved.

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