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Monday, April 26, 2010

Are You Prepared for a 30 Day Shut-Down?

And when I say you, I mean you (and your family) personally, and your business if you have one. If you have been watching the news, you know about the volcano that's been spewing ash all over Europe for the past week. The airlines are unable to fly through the ash so tens of thousands of flights have been grounded. Now, the airlines can be flexible for a day or two but by today, day four of this situation, the airlines are pressuring the powers that be to let them fly because they are losing so much money. Scary thought. Money to not go bankrupt or passenger safety...hmmm...
This is a situation that is all too common because people (and businesses) have lost the ability to weather the types of storms that can mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. A century or two ago, people planned annually and seasonally. If they didn't have food coming in for a month, they certainly had stored food that could see them through the lean times. If they did not have cash coming in for a month, they had cash in savings that could see them through a financial dry spell. These days, everything in done on the very tightest of margins. For many families, missing even one single paycheck could mean homelessness. If a business cannot ship containers of food on a daily basis, grocery store shelves will literally be empty within a couple of days. There simply is no backup without just in time delivery or just in time earnings.
Which brings us to the point of this post. Say you cannot work for 30 days, the health officer quarantines you to your home for 30 days due to a deadly disease outbreak, or the grocery stores are empty for 30 days. Could you survive? For most people, the answer is simply no. For most people, they think such a thing could NEVER EVER happen so they don't even plan for it (besides, they know the government would come in and save them). For other people, this thought has crossed their minds more than once and they have some sort of plan in place to deal with it.
Here's what you need to do to prepare for a 30-day shut down:
  • Have the money to pay two months of normal expenses put aside in savings. Even if you are only shut down for 30 days, it may take a bit extra to get ramped back up.
  • Have an extra 30 day's worth of food stored at your home. If you end up not using it, you can always throw a huge summer event and feed all of your guests or donate the food to charity and restock.
  • Have an extra 30 days worth of supplies stored at your home (laundry soap, bath soap, toilet paper, etc.).
  • How much debt do you have? The difference between paying your minimal living debts (water, lights, garbage) versus paying the monthly bills for a dozen credit cards and huge mortgage and car loans really makes a difference in how comfortably (both financially and psychologically) you can survive a shut-down.
  • Have an escape plan for a 30 day period. Some people never take more than a week's vacation per year which is sad (and another post). If you have never taken a vacation for a 30 day period of time, it can be quite disconcerting, but if you had to bug out for a month, consider how you would prepare for this. Could you still work remotely? Do you have a place or two in mind that you would like to go? How much would it cost for food and shelter in your desired location? What would you take with you? How would you get there?
That's basically it. If you can eat, have shelter, have necessary supplies, possibly earn a living, and definitely pay your bills, for an extended period of time when a major financial/social/political disruption is occurring, you will be miles ahead of the masses in terms of preparedness.

How to Control Fear During an Emergency

By Stefan Verstappen

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. -Mark Twain
Fear is nature's guardian that warns and alerts us to real or perceived dangers. Knowledge of fear is essential to survival since fear can sabotage the ultimate weapon of our intelligence making years of self-defense and emergency survival training useless. This is why understanding how to train our response to fear is one of the most important survivals skills.
Fear of a real or imagined threat triggers the autonomic nervous system to prepare the human organism for sudden and frantic activity. Known as the Fight or Flight response, this survival mechanism prepares the body to either, flee a potential predator through the hazards of open terrain in a race for survival, or to face the predator in a life or death battle. In either event, the body must be able to call on every ounce of energy and numb any pain that might interfere with running or fighting.
The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic is responsible for preparing the body for action, while the parasympathetic is responsible for preserving energy.
A threat will cause the sympathetic nervous system to signal the endocrine system to release hormones causing a series of reactions:

• Increased heart rate to increase the flow of blood throughout the body

• Respiration is affected either by hyperventilating or holding in the breath

• Arteries dilate to increase blood flow to the surface to provide the anticipated demand of oxygen from the muscles. (This can be observed by the face becoming flushed)

• Body temperature increases producing sweat, and body hair may become erect

• Blood flow to the digestive organs is restricted to provide more blood to the muscles, the stomach may suddenly feel nauseous, and vomiting is not uncommon
In addition, the adrenal glands increase the availability of blood sugar (glucose) to release stored energy. This process is akin to revving the engine and feeding nitrous oxide into the fuel mixture. Endorphins, whose molecular structure closely resembles morphine, are released into the brain to numb the anticipated pain of injuries and fatigue.
However, the body cannot maintain this heightened state of readiness for long. Soon the parasympathetic system is triggered into action to counter all the changes caused by the sympathetic system: Heart rate is reduced, breathing becomes shallow, gasping, with frequent sighing, and the mouth becomes dry. Blood is drawn in towards the inner body restricting the flow to the brain, which may cause dizziness, spots in peripheral vision, and fainting. The face becomes pale and waxy and body temperature drops. The digestive system may suddenly kick in resulting a bowel movement or release of the bladder.
For a short period the two systems alternate back and forth in a battle for control of the body's nervous system, a battle always won in the end by the parasympathetic. All these opposing responses can take place in a matter of minutes.
Fear prepares the body for action. The accompanying increase in strength, pain threshold, and endurance can be lifesaving assets. It is not something we want to do without. However, too often fear turns to panic and it is then that fear becomes a liability.
The problem exists not in erasing fear entirely, but rather a delicate balance of enhanced awareness and body readiness, combined with a detached self-control. There are three quick techniques to help you lessen fear.
Breath Control

Fear triggers the instinct to make as little noise as possible and focus on the possible threat. This instinct was a benefit to our ancient ancestors huddled in the bush and hearing a twig snap in the darkness signaling an approaching predator. To make as little noise as possible we do two things, we freeze, and hold our breath.
To reduce system noise made by the respiratory system we either hold our breath or breathe shallowly. However, holding the breath for too long while the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated causes a sudden demand for oxygen. The signal to breathe is overstated and, instead of regular breathing, a person may begin to hyper-ventilate.
Hyperventilating reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. The body needs a certain amount of CO2 and a rapid drop of it constricts blood flow to many vital organs. Constriction of blood vessels in the brain will cause dizziness, disorientation, and may lead to loss of consciousness. Reduced blood flow to the heart muscle may lead to chest pains. The high oxygen level can make one nervous and edgy, and cause a feeling of `pins and needles', muscle spasms, nervous twitches, and even convulsions. The effect of a lack of CO2 also contributes to panic attacks.
Breath control is the best technique to reduce fear. Simply being aware of the tendency to hold your breath when frightened will help you re-establish normal breathing rhythms.
Whenever you feel frightened or anxious you should establish a regular deep breathing pattern. Focus on your abdomen and take three short breaths holding each for one second before exhaling. On the fourth breath, begin deep breathing at a medium tempo. Inhale as slowly as possible up to a count of five, then hold the breath in for a count of three, then exhale for a count of five. Be sure that the length of inhalation is equal to the exhalation. Abdominal breathing will help you remain calm and reduce feelings of fear.

The instinct to freeze when frightened results in tense muscles which will interfere with natural reactions and adds to the anxiety by reinforcing fear in a bio feedback loop. To break this loop you need to relax and loosen up. The first place to start is with the shoulders. Most people will raise their shoulders and pull their chins in when frightened. Pull your shoulders down and relax the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Do a couple of quick shoulder and neck rolls then shake out your arms and hands. Pull your head up and chin out. This posture is associated with confidence and will help dispel anxiety.

The instinct to freeze when frightened is epitomized in the metaphor of a deer caught in the headlights. Startled by a car traveling down the road, a deer will often freeze in the middle of the road to its demise rather than run off into the safety of the bush. Likewise, many people will also freeze into inaction during a threatening situation. To break this instinct one should simply move. Rather than just wait in dread, go into action. Either go to the rescue or evacuate the scene. Doing something will lessen the dread of fear and help to restore confidence.
Whether you are in an accident, natural disaster or predatory attack, remember to breath, relax, and take action to ensure your and your family's safety.
About the Author
Stefan H. Verstappen is a Canadian writer, adventurer, and martial artist. He has worked as a wilderness survival instructor for Outward Bound programs, a street youth councilor, a First Aid and CPR instructor for St John Ambulance, and a martial arts instructor. He spent four years living in the Orient.
For more information on the author visit: http://www.chinastrategies.com/survival.htm
You can e-mail Stefan with questions and comments to sverstappen@yahoo.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stefan_Verstappen


Quest For Fire

magnifying glassImage via Wikipedia
Fire, it’s one of the key ingredients for your survival after a disaster or the post apocalypse. The obvious way to start a fire is with matches or a lighter, possibly some gas or another combustible liquid as well. But what happens if you have none of these, how do you get a fire started? Fortunately there are many ways to get a fire started without every striking a match, here are a few that I’ve used in the past that work.

An important note to remember when starting any fire is that no matter what method you choose to use you should have all your fuel ready to go before you try to get a fire going. You might only have one chance so don’t waste it by having to run around looking for fuel. Also you need an escalation in the fuel you use, what this means is that once you have fire start with small fuel such as dry leaves and twigs, then as this burns start adding larger sources of fuel until the fire is hot and large enough to burn regular sized wood.

Another important note is that many of these techniques require something called a “bird’s nest” this is simply a bundle of dry easily burnable fuel such as grass, bits of paper, small twigs, or whatever you can find that you bundle together to resemble a bird’s nest. To keep this material dry you should always pack it in your bug out bag in a plastic bag to keep it separated from your other kit.

1. Magnesium Fire Starter

If you’re using a magnesium fire starter you won’t need to necessarily make a bird’s nest, but there are a couple extra things to consider when using one. First find a flat piece of cardboard, bark, or other easily burnable material, this is what you will use to place your filings on, don‘t just have the filings fall into the dirt because they will get buried in there and become ineffective. Using a saw blade or file not a knife blade (This will quickly dull your knife unless you have no other choice) starts shaving the flat side of the fire starter. Make sure to avoid injury that the saw blade is moving away from your fingers not towards it. Continue this motion until you have a pile of filings a little larger then a quarter (Loonie if you’re Canadian), of course you can also go a little bigger if you feel that isn’t large enough. Remember to keep those filings together, what your essentially doing with them is creating kindling, magnesium burns very hot and fast (About 5000 degrees), and keeping them together will allow them to burn longer.

Now using the flint side of the fire starter scrap, don’t strike the flint. The filings will go up very quickly so remember to have your kindling very close by. Once its lit start adding your kindling, don’t heap it on top all at once but add a piece at a time allowing the fire to start burning each piece. Throwing everything on all at once is a good way to kill your fire before it has a chance to catch.

2. Magnifying Glass

Another way to get a fire going is with a magnifying glass. I recommend using a smaller one as this will take up less space when travelling, and many of the smaller versions come with their own protective cases built in to protect the lens from scratches. To use a magnifying glass to start a fire, first build your bird’s nest using dry grass, paper, whatever you can find. Then placing the bird’s nest on the ground align your magnifying glass to the sun. The glass will concentrate the sun’s rays into a much smaller focal point causing that area to heat up very quickly. Once you see smoke starting gently blow on the bird’s nest until you see fire, then start adding you’re kindling on top.

3. Beer Can

In the post apocalypse world discarded pop or beer cans should be very easy to find. To use this you’re going to need a can, something to polish the bottom of the can with, a small piece of flammable material such as paper or cloth, and a roach clip or small object to hold the paper or cloth such as a small twig. First you need to polish the bottom of the can, it’s important that it’s not scratched as this will act as a mirror to collect the sun’s heat. One way to polish it is to use tooth paste and some toilet paper since neither one is abrasive enough to really scratch up the can. After polishing the can for about 45 minutes to an hour you then want to align the can so that the sun’s rays are running parallel and will allow it to collect heat. To ensure its parallel you want the shadow of the can to be as small as possible, the smaller the more in line to the suns rays it will be.

Once your can is aligned you want to find the focal point, or where the sun’s rays will be most concentrated on the can, you can check this by moving your finger a couple of inches above the can until you find the hottest point. Then take your flammable material (paper, cloth, etc) place it on your twig or small stick and position it at the focal point, remember that you want the twig, roach clip or whatever you decide to use as small as possible to reduce the amount of shadow cast onto the can, obviously the more shadow means the less heat will be collected. If this is done right your flammable object should start to smoke fairly quickly, once it does place it into your bird’s nest (Which you should have made already) and gently blow until it catches fire.

4. Steel wool and a 9 volt battery

One of the easiest ways to start a fire is with a 9 volt battery and steel wool. I’ve used different brands of steel wool such as S.O.S pads, but the generic brand I found works the best because it doesn’t have the added cleaning agent in it. To do this simply take a piece of steel wool and start opening it up, the goal is to turn it into a bowl like shape. Once this is done fill that bowl with easily burnable material such as dry grass, leaves, paper etc. Now taking the 9 volt battery touch the top end of the battery (The end with the positive and negative ends) to the steel wool. Very quickly the wool will catch on fire, allow a couple seconds for the fire to spread and start to burn the dry kindling before you add more, again adding too much will choke the fire causing large amounts of smoke and possibly killing your fire before it starts.

There are lots of ways to get a fire started, these are just a few of them. Like many things in the post apocalypse world you need to think on your feet and use what you have around you and don't be afraid to experiement, you never know what will happen.

Storm Shelters for Survival - Part One

Storm cellar on the Texas plains.Image via Wikipedia
Storm shelters are a vital necessity in many parts of the country. The threats from tornadoes and other severe storms are a very real danger to your survival. My area is no exception and having a good storm shelter is one of the areas where my preparations have been inadequate. This is a situation that needs to be addressed and has been moved to the top of the list of things that need to be done. You should also realize that creating and planning the most effective and efficient design possible for your storm shelter will be what makes your chances for survival a success.
After considering several different types of storm shelters, it seems that a shelter that takes advantage of your natural surroundings will probably be one of the safest means possible to weather a severe storm. Many creatures in our natural environment survive devastating storms by simply taking advantages of natural shelter that is available. Sometimes their shelter is little more than a hole in the ground and yet they manage to survive. The location for your storm shelter should blend in with the shape and contours of your surroundings which will make it less obtrusive to your daily life but also be there if and when it is needed. Building an effective and efficient storm shelter will require a great deal of planning in order to insure your survival. Your long term survival is largely dependent on your ability to survive the short term effects of a severe storm.
While there are many types of commercially built storm shelters available, most can be cost prohibitive for many people. With some time, effort and a little research, you should be able to design and build an effective storm shelter that can fit into your budget. If you’ve got plenty of money or received a big tax refund this year, it may not be a problem for you and one of the commercially available shelters may be more appropriate for your needs. Certain classic storm shelter designs are based on steel or concrete construction or a combination of these two materials. Newer and more modern designs are being based on fiberglass structures that offer strength similar to steel and concrete but don’t have the long term disadvantages of rust or deterioration. The fiberglass option seems to be the type that will best suit my needs based on my own research into storm shelters. It also offers the option for moderately easy repairs through the use of readily available fiberglass repair kits. It will probably be in combination with some type of geo-mass such as mounds of soil, bags of dirt or rocks.
More considerations on my plans for building a storm shelter will be forthcoming in Part Two.
Got hole in the ground?
Staying above the water line!

Optics -- Seeing Is Believing, by Littlebird

A modern pair of prescription glasses with a h...Image via W
When you think of all of the needed equipment during or after an emergency, I am willing to bet that optical devices aren’t at the top of the list.  We will think about and plan for just about everything except seeing what is around us.  While pondering things to prepare for, I had the thought: What would be some items that would take some doings to replace?  While it is highly doubted that FEMA would come to your rescue I am almost certain that they will not arrive carrying the items that I'll point out.
If you wear glasses or contacts, the very first thing you should plan on having extras is some glasses.  While it is true that for most contact lens is a good choice for anyone active in the outdoors, glasses would or at least should last a lot longer.  Not only are the easier to clean than contact, they require not much more than the end of your shirt to keep functional.  To minimize the scratches, use one of those pieces of material specifically made for cleaning glasses.  While it is true that we all need a good case to keep them in, most of us don’t use one because they are always on our face. Remember what we say here, two in one and one is none?  Well if the next time you updated your eyeglasses prescription, be sure and order two pairs instead of just one.  Most places will give you discounted pricing on the second pair and you can save some money by choosing as your second pair a set of glasses that aren’t as fashionable as your everyday pair.  During normal times, glasses can be replaced in less than a week, so even if you had to wear the not-so-pretty ones for a week, what would it hurt?  Can you imagine the headache you’d have after going so long without glasses as your eyes are constantly trying to bring everything into focus?  This would be the place for prescription glass wearers…the next time you update your glasses, buy two pair.  Doctors recommend that we have our eyes checked every two years.  If you went tomorrow to the doctor and purchased two pair and followed up with a visit two years from now, you’d have four sets of glasses.  Two that are current and two that will get you buy until better comes along.  For those of you that wear just the generic reading glasses that are picked up at local pharmacy, you should just simply buy four pair as soon as possible.  If you had extra and wanted a truly great item to barter with, buy several pairs of various strengths.  People will give an arm and leg to be able to see.  I can’t imagine trying to survive what could be the worst event in your life with limited or no vision.
Think you are okay as you sit today?  Think of this situation.  A couple of weeks ago we carried our children to see the Circus and had a blast.  But what would have happened if pandemonium had set in and everyone decided they wanted to leave at the same time?  My first course of action would be to hang on to my children for dear life until we were all outside and accounted for.  But how would you feel if as a prescription glass wearer your glasses got knocked off in the stampede as they most likely would.  What if everything seems better outside but now you can’t see more than several feet in front of you.  What if one of your children or your spouse got separated and now you can’t see clearing enough for any distance to find them?  Good luck getting someone to help you either as they are trying to get someplace safe themselves.  Personally, I would not even be able to drive home without my glasses.  So if you wear glasses, make sure you have a replacement pair close at all times.  If you were able to keep an extra pair at work, at home, and in the car that would cover practically all the places you spend the most time.  I feel like in the event that I had to have them, between those three places I should be covered.
The very next set of optics you should purchase should be a decent set of binoculars.  Nothing says safety like avoiding trouble in the first place.  If you can watch from a distance, you may be able to avoid a lot of heartache latter.  It doesn’t matter if you are looking for wild game or running surveillance on what is going on around your own home or retreat, you can’t properly react to what you can’t see.  If you needed to get from point A to point B under severe conditions, it is better to scan the area as best you can for additional threats.  The further out you can spot those threats the better.  Often the best way to survive is not being seen or found.  In every book I have read on WTSHTF, binoculars have always come into place to create a tactical advantage whether it is putting game on the table or saving your own bacon.  So buy the very best you can afford and don’t skimp on quality.  Let’s go over some binocular basics so that you will choose the right pair for the task at hand.  One of the first requirements of a good set of binoculars is that they must be waterproof.  You never know what kind of action they may see so make sure that they will at least pass that test.  The next thing I would look for is what they call armor coated or rubberized so that they can take on a little more punishment.  Again, this is to protect your investment in what could be a piece of equipment that will last many years.
After you take into account the different sizes, i.e. 8x42 compared to 10x50, the most significant difference it which type of prism do you pick.  The binoculars that use the Porro prisms are the ones we are all most familiar with.  These are the ones that have the offset from the lens to the eye piece.  The advantages of the Porro prisms are that there are many more models to choose from and the costs are more in line with what most people are willing to spend.  One could argue that you can get more bang for the buck by going with a set of binoculars that incorporate the Porro prisms.  Porro prism binoculars have a single pivot point between the two lenses making them easier to adjust the distance between your eyes.    While it is true that they deliver the best value for the dollar, they also have some drawbacks.  From reading several reviews on binoculars while looking for the “best” set for the money, I noticed that many times customers reported that the waterproof and fog proof attributes either flat out failed or over time ceased to exist.  It is also hard to find a suitable set of offset binoculars that are truly compact, or maybe we should say as compact as they could be.  If you purchase a set of binoculars that use Porro prisms, then hold out for what they call BAK-4 prisms as they are considered the best right now.  Some use a BAK-7 prism, but they just aren’t as good as the 4’s.  Generally speaking, it is easier to find better optics and by that I mean better coated optics as the cost for manufacturing can be spent on the glass and not the prism.  My guess is because this design has been around for decades and thus the options are greater.
Now let’s look the other option in prisms.  That is the roof prism.  These are found in the binoculars that cost a little more and in some cases a lot more.  Roof prism binoculars can be spotted from across the room.  This is because the lens for each eye is lined up to for a single tub for each side of the binoculars.  By design, it is easier for companies to ensure that they are both waterproof and fog proof.  Also because of the straight tubes, you end up with a more compact set of binoculars.  Compactness may not matter while pulling your time in the LP/OP, but if you are on the move, it will matter a lot.  Because of the straight tubes, it is a little more difficult to adjust these for the spacing between the eyes.  The biggest downside I see is that you get a really good set of roof prism binoculars; you have to get in that $300 and up range.
The next thing to decide is which size do I need?  Binoculars are often classified as compact, mid-size, full-size, and zoom or astronomical.  For our purposes, we’ll pass on the astronomical as we would rather spend the money on something else, maybe another pair of binoculars.  As with any other tool, each size was designed for a specific task.  I would recommend that you own tow pair, one compact and one full size.  To understand how they are sized, you should understand what the numbers mean.  When you see a set advertised as 8x42, the first number represents the number of times an image is magnified when you look through them.  The second number is the size in millimeters that the objective lens or the lens opposite the eye.  Be careful of not getting caught up with buying the biggest set of numbers you can.  The higher the first number or magnification is, the harder it will be to keep them focused on something.  Get something in the 12x range or higher and it will feel like you have the shakes if you look through them too long as it will detect the slightest movement in your hands.  Expects suggest that you stay with something in the 7 or 8 range for your first number.  The second number is just as important.  Bigger is better but you will also be giving up the compactness of them as they will weigh more as that lens gets larger.  The larger this lens, the more light that goes into the binocular and the sharper the image will look.  This is called the exit pupil.  The actual diameter of the exit pupil is easy to compute.  You take the second number and divide it by the first.  For example, a pair of 8x42 binoculars will have an exit pupil of 5.25mm.  For a comparison, the human eyes in excellent condition have about a 7mm pupil opening.  So the closer you can stay to that number the more you’ll see even in dim light.  What does this mean?  With all things considered equal, a compact set of binoculars in 8x21 would be better than a set of 12x25.  The 8x21 set would have an exit pupil of 2.63mm while the 12x25 would be 2.08mm.  You’ll be able to see more at dusk with the 8x21 than with the 12x25.  This may seem backwards as the magnification is 33% more (8 vs. 12), but without enough light entering the front of the lens, your eyes can’t process the images correctly.  Still we haven’t answered the question of what size to buy.  I would suggest a pair of 7x50, giving you an exit pupil of 7.14 which is great, and a pair of 7x35 or 8x40 giving you an exit pupil of 5.00 each.  I would treat the later as my compacts and the former as the full-size binoculars.  Some compacts that are in the 10x25 range will only give you an exit pupil of 2.5 so don’t expect to see much unless it is the middle of the day.
Now that we have given you some ideas for binoculars, we need to talk about accessories.  The first thing I would purchase would be a decent case to keep them in.  After that and probably just as important, I would upgrade the neck strap.  I am partial to the ones like Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops sell that are part neck strap and part harness.  The harness system keeps you binoculars from bouncing and banging around while you are walking/running.  They keep them strapped close to your chest and easy to access.  I would also purchase a lens cleaning pens to keep the lens clean and free from scratches.
Rifle Scopes
After you have filled the bill for your eyeglasses and binoculars, you next most important piece of optical equipment will be that of a rifle scope.  A rifle scope, when properly adjusted, will allow pinpoint accuracy and less ammo down range.  We are not talking about spending the small fortune on the high dollar scopes designed for sniping or bench rest shooting but those more common on your average big game rifle.  The numbers for rifle scopes are the same used in binoculars.  The first number notes the amount of magnification and the later the size of the optical or outside lens.  When you see a scope described as a 3-9x40, this means that the magnification can be adjusted with a twist of the eyepiece from a magnification of 3 time to that of 9 times what we can see with the naked eye.  And again the last number tells you that the objective lens is 40mm.  This seems to be the most common setup on deer rifles around my area.   When you go to buy your rifle scope, never skimp on quality.  You’ll pay for it later in the end.  A furniture salesman once told me that the most expensive furniture you can buy is the cheapest because you’ll replace it more often in the long run.  This logic applies with optics as well.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a scope that will last a lifetime, but don’t expect to find it in the closeout bin either.  Look for a manufacturer that has been around for a while or at least offers a lifetime warranty on their product.  Manufactures that will not warrant their product forever know that the product will not last forever.  I would stick with Leupold, Nikon, Redfield, etc.  Another rule of thumb that I have used on every gun I have dressed out is not to spend more than half the cost or value of the gun on optics.  For instance if you purchase or trade for a rifle and you feel like the gun is worth $700, then try to spend no more than $350 on the scope.  When I buy a rifle and decide to put a scope on it, I use this formula and look to buy all the scope I can get for that amount of money.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen someone walking around at a gun show with what I call a mismatch.  What this means is that the gun will be a nice guns but immediately you’d have to upgrade the scope.  When you see this, factor out the scope that is currently mounted on the gun knowing you’ll replace it later.  You don’t have to mention it to the seller, because then you’ll have to listen to all the reasons he chose that brand or model.  Sometimes you’ll get lucky and be able to pick up an average rifle with an exceptional scope that often you’ll move to another gun.
After you have chosen the right scope for your rifle, you’ll need to know how you want to mount it.  I would suggest that you spend some time looking at the various mounting options from someplace like Midway USA.  (www.midwayusa.com). It would be well worth the money to standardize the mounting system commonly called rings and mount.  The rings are what hold the actual scope to the mount that is screwed down to the receiver of the rifle.  For instance if you have several rifles, and you could find the mounts like the Weaver or rail-type mount, you could easily switch the scope from one rifle to another.  You would need to remind yourself that with each change, you would need to re-zero the rifle. 
In order for the scope to function like it was supposed to, you’ll need to know as little something about the caliber you are shooting.  You need to know what the maximum effective range is for you caliber before you decide on the type of optics to purchase.  For instance you wouldn’t really want an EOTech Holographic sight on a .30-06 as they are designed for action a lot closer in.  A perfect example is that here in North Carolina the average shot at a deer in my area is inside of 200 yards.  With a kill area for vital organs somewhere around 6-8 inches, that gives you some wiggle room.  So I have my .270 Winchester rifle zeroed in at 1 inch high at 100 yards and it puts it at about 1 inch low at 200 yards and I’ve taken deer out to 300 yards without adjusting where I place the crosshairs.  They have some scopes out that Nikon and Redfield make that can be adjusted to you specific caliber and bullet weight that will allow you to shoot out to 600 yards without readjusting the scope.  This will cover almost any range most of us will ever need.  For accessories here, be sure and buy the lens covers like those offered by Butler Creek.  These are great at protecting you investment.  You might also consider buying the light shades that some manufactures offer not in case you are ever faced with setting up your position with the sun in your face.  A bad position but it might be all you have.
Night Vision
The next important piece of equipment that you should look to is something in the night vision area.  I have read on many blogs that if you can’t fight effectively in the night, that you won’t be alive come daybreak.  This is very true if others know where you are in the event the balloon goes up.  The first goal here to get something that will give you an advantage or at least level the playing field.  This is the next area of prepping for me.  I would love to hear from others that have more knowledge and experience than me on this topic.
When thinking about optics, think about looking from close-up to as far out as possible.  Spending hard earned money on a great scope is not much good if you lose your glasses and can’t see anything else.  So think glasses first, if you need them, and then go from there.  Add to the items described above would also be a good rangefinder to lay out distances and then a spotting scope for when you need to watch the same area for an extended length of time.  This should round out a great selection of optics that will serve you for many years to come.