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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Survival Resources - The Bucket List

Original Article

The Bucket

There are numerous items that can serve as a resource. One of the most useful and versatile of these items is the bucket. The bucket is an item whose design is simple but its uses are quite varied. It is one of the ultimate containers that can serve a variety of purposes. Here is a list of just a few of the uses for a bucket.
The Bucket List
1. Storage Container - Use a bucket as a container for storage - A bucket can be used to store a variety of gear and food items.
2. Transportation Device - Use a bucket to transport items - A bucket can be used to carry just about anything that will fit inside it. They are especially useful for transporting water.
3. Garden Device - Use as a container for plants - A bucket works well for container gardening.
4. Improvised Furniture - Use a bucket as a chair - If you don’t have anything to put in your bucket, you can turn it upside down and use it as a chair.
5. Rainwater Catchment Device - Use a bucket to catch rainwater - If you don’t have a rain barrel, use a rain bucket.
6. Protection Device - Use a bucket to cover tender plants to protect them from harsh weather. Let the hail bounce off the bucket and not your plants.
7. Filter Device - Use a bucket as a water filter - Punch some holes in it and fill it with a filter medium. It can then be used to filter emergency water sources.
8. Improvised Step Ladder - Turn your bucket upside down and you can even use it as an improvised step ladder. It may be all you need to reach that high place easily.
9. Use as a Tool Box - Buckets make a great improvised tool box and will help you keep track of your tools and help prevent losing them.
10. Collection Device - Use your bucket to collect eggs - They make great nesting boxes for your chickens and don’t require a lot of modifications.
Your resources in any situation are limited only by your imagination and your need. The bucket is just one of those items that can serve your purposes on a daily basis or in a crisis.
Got bucket?
Staying above the water line!

The Prepared Child

Original Article

If you ask most people why they are prepping, the immediate response is “For my children.”  We want to give them a chance at surviving whatever disaster may befall the world as we know it today.  Through our own research, preppers know better than anyone the terrible results of a disaster.
Most of us have covered many of the bases in disaster preparedness as far as food, shelter and self-defense are concerned.  Children, however, have a psychological need for security and stability that require other types of preparations.
Obviously, the stability you normally provide will be completely rocked if you have to grab your bug-out bags and set off on foot in the middle of the night one terrible evening.  Surviving a horrific natural disaster that wipes out a child’s familiar home will take a bite out of any child’s sense of security.
We must prepare our children by building their natural resilience.  Like any other characteristic we want to instil in our kids, (like honesty or kindness) positive reinforcement and repetition can bring these natural traits to the forefront.
Teach your kids to think critically.
The ability to think for one’s self is vital in a survival situation.  Kids have to know that their own logic and instincts are to be respected, and that just because someone is an “authority figure” it doesn’t mean that person has their best interests at heart.  Sometimes this can be difficult for us as parents, since we expect (okay, we’d like it a lot!!!) our kids to obey us immediately and without question.  We have to temper that desire with the encouragement of reasonable questions from our kids.
Ask your kids the following questions to ingrain the habit of critical thinking.
  1. Why do you think I want you to do this?
  2. When watching a movie or TV show, pause the program to question the actions of the characters with your kids.  Did you see how the man asked that little boy for help? What do you think the boy should do?  If someone asked you to do this, how would you react?
  3. How does this (choose a current event) affect us? What do you think about what is going on?
  4. What do you think would happen if (choose a disaster or event) occurred? How would other people react to this?
Point out the advantages of a prepping lifestyle.
Many children find a sense of peace in knowing that Mom and Dad are ready for whatever might happen.  When a disaster occurs elsewhere in the world, point out to your children some of the beneficial things that you have done to prepare if the same thing happened in your area.
For example, when people are frantically looting the grocery stores for the last items on the shelves, you can remind the kids that your family could go for 6 months (or however long is applicable) without ever setting foot in a store.  When the heat is taken out in an ice storm somewhere in the world, you can point out the propane heater or the woodstove that is at the ready to keep them warm.
Include the kids in the preparations.
Let your kids feel like part of the solution by allowing their input and enlisting their assistance.
My daughter enjoys helping me repackage foods that we’ve purchased in large quantities.  We work together in the kitchen, pouring dried beans into glass jars and have some great discussions about how many meals can be made out of what we have just purchased.  She helps me choose between black beans and kidney beans at the bulk store.  We slice up fruit to go into the dehydrator and sneak samples to see if it’s ready yet.
We have also created some disaster plans together.  She knows precisely what to do in the event of a tornado.  She also knows where we will meet up if disaster strikes when she is at school.  She understands the importance of home security and is by far the most “street smart” of her friends.
Practice makes perfect.
Don’t just talk about survival skills: PRACTICE them!!!  Kids love learning wilderness skills and you will get the added bonus of bonding moments.
  1. Go camping – not with the RV, but with a tent in the middle of the woods.
  2. Go hiking and bring along a field guide to identify edible plants.
  3. Learn about and experiment with solar power – you don’t have to invest in a kit of solar panels – start small by building a solar cooker together and then making a meal in it.
  4. Go fishing or hunting.
  5. Grow a garden and preserve your harvest.
 Don’t forget to prep for fun.
If the power is out for an extended period of time, many kids of today will be in for some serious culture shock.  With no stereo, no Playstation, and no television, the refrain of “I’m bored” will ring in your ears like a bad case of tinnitus.  Plan ahead by stocking up on activities that don’t require any power but that of their imaginations. (I purchased many of these items at yard sales and thrift stores).
  1. Board games and card games
  2. Books
  3. Craft supplies
  4. Puzzles
  5. Sketchpads and art supplies
Don’t forget classic games like I Spy, Charades and Mother May I, none of which will cost you a penny!
Familiarity is the key to comfort.  If your prepping efforts are a part of life for your kids, then in the event of a disaster, the shock will be lessened.  Instead of having to be coddled throughout the ordeal, your child will be a productive member of the family team.

Your Community: A Survival Help Or Hindrance?

Original Article

What exactly is your community? Do you live in a rural area, or small neighborhood, an apartment building, a cul-de-sac or a city? You are prepping, stocking up and preparing for some level of emergencies. Are your neighbors prepping? In a SHTF scenario would you want their help? Would you be able to get their help? Are they even capable of helping? How well do you know them? Would they be a help to you or a hindrance to you?

Many people feel that you should keep your prepping and your emergency planning ‘quiet’. Generally speaking, I think you may be better off on your own. The bottom line is that the decision whether or not to help your neighbors is a decision that only you can make.

In a SHTF scenario, the world you know will be very different. People that have not prepared will think of many different ways to get your things. These ‘ways’ may be a good thing, such as bartering or helping with a task. But chances are these ‘ways’ could very well be devious or even intrusive.

Things to consider before you decide to put your neighbors into your fold.

Are your neighbors clueless and needy? Okay, seriously, I’m not being mean, I’m being realistic. If they are needy because they are elderly, that’s a different story. But if they are just generally clueless and needy, they will probably require a lot of your time as well as your supplies.  Once again, a decision that’s up to you.
How would they view your prepping? If you were to tell them and show them, today, all of the prepping work you have done, would they think you are weird? Or would they be receptive, ask you questions, and even start their own prepping? Something to think about when looking for a compatriot.

What are the occupations of your neighbors? Will they be able to be helpful in a SHTF scenario? Prepper groups are being formed out there folks. They are groups of friends, family, neighbors that are all preppers who are concerned about banding together for security when the S does HTF. A tight group of people with varied skills, occupations and interests that can all bring benefits to the group. Am I describing your neighbors, or not?

Are your neighbors frugal or wasteful? If need be, would you be able to get them to ration food? Something else for you to think about.

How will your community ( neighborhood, small town, apartment complex etc.), fare in a SHTF scenario? Would such a scenario increase their reciprocity? Would they follow a make shift leader to increase the strength of the community or would it be a dog eat dog situation. Something else for you to think about folks.

How many of you have watched the old TV show ‘Jericho‘? First of all, for the most part, they stuck with the mayor and sheriff as local leaders. The town generally united, but even then there were ‘factions’ that grew. Some folks combined with others from another town and thought they knew best. Although for the most part they worked together, there were still those rotten apples to watch out for. When it comes down to not having food, water or a shelter, people will act differently, instinctively. Think about this.

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Systemic Risk: The Internet

Original Article

Systemic risk is risk that affects an entire system. A systemic risk is one that could potentially bring it all down. It would be a component or a dependency of a system that itself requires the ‘thing’ to be there, to be functioning as expected, to always be up and running or working.

The Internet is itself a system, but it is also a dependency or systemic risk of bigger systems. We depend on the Internet. ‘We’, meaning, most of us. We as individuals depend on it, business depends on it, it is an integral part of our modern way of life.

Stock markets, world finance, and all banking depends upon the instantaneous ‘money’ transfer pipeline to settle transactions. If this ‘light speed’ ability were to be removed, it would all come crashing down.

Communications depend on it. While you as an individual could survive without the ability to text your friends every few minutes, the dependency upon instant communications for business is critical. Most all modern communications methods touch the internet in some way.

Supply chains of distribution depend on the various connections of feedback for supply and demand. Today’s ‘just-in-time’ inventory works because of the internet, which enables fast and real-time communications and data interchange to keep the manufacturers aligned with the demand of the distributors and retailers. Without the instant feedback loop, the ‘just-in-time’ system would crash.

The unfathomable depth and volume of the internet as a resource is staggering compared to only a few decades ago when the library was the resource. The ability to have access to this resource has revolutionized the way we think, the way we do business, and the way we live. We are dependent on it. This makes it a systemic risk to our modern way of life.

Although it appears as though the internet is resilient, and will always be there for us, we cannot make that assumption if we are to consider being prepared. It is a well worth exercise to spend a few minutes and imagine the world without the internet, and how it would affect your life. Then, prepare for it just a little, or more, if you would like.
Those who wish to do us harm, know this is one of our vulnerabilities and systemic risks. Never assume that things will always remain the same. Recognize the risks. Even if you do nothing about it, if you have thought about it, you will be a step ahead of most of the rest.

Without becoming technical, just know that the internet has a backbone and nodes where the bulk of traffic passes through. Our clever enemies know this too. This backbone is surely well secured and in many ways, redundant. But… you know what they say about when you ‘assume’…

Update, Yet another problem facing internet users, the infamous ‘kill switch’…
From zdnet.com, “China’s mysterious Internet outage; speculation over a ‘kill switch’” At approximately 11am local time yesterday, Internet users around China reported significant Internet blackouts. Not only were they unable to access some Chinese sites, but also many foreign Web sites that had not previously been blocked. Others have suggested that the temporary outage might have been a test run of an emergency ‘kill switch’, in case extreme measures need to be taken in the ongoing crackdown of the Chinese Internet.

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