Urban Camouflage: Can You Hide from Technology?

Surveillance Camera

In the early 70’s the NYPD installed CCTV cameras throughout New York City in the hopes of deterring crime. The recorded images were of course, also used to help identify criminals after a crime was committed. The theory was and still is if a person knows or suspects they are being recorded, they would be less apt to commit a crime.

The point is of course that whenever you are in a public place the chances of being recorded is high. Cell phones cameras, drones and video surveillance systems in private homes are pervasive in today’s society and virtually any business will have a surveillance system installed as well.

Facial Recognition Software

Each face has a number of distinguishable, so-called landmarks, which are called nodal points by experts, and there are roughly 80 points that can be measured by facial recognition software.

Some of the nodal points measured that are a determining factor include:

  • The distance between eyes
  • Nose width
  • Eye socket depth
  • Cheekbone shape
  • Jaw line length

Facial recognition software has been around since the early 60’s but until recently, the programs used were limited in scope and it was found that in many cases, humans had a higher success in identifying someone. However, advances in technology have surpassed human capabilities and so now, many law enforcement agencies and even private business are using the software.

You may find facial recognition at large sporting events and anywhere the public at large would gather for special occasions. Airports, government buildings and some private corporations routinely use the software.

Advances in the future may include the use of the software at ATM machines. Your face may be scanned before you can withdraw money from the machine. This of course means that if someone steals your ATM, debit or credit card that person would not be able to withdraw money from any machine using the software because his or her face is not associated with the card (s).

For the software to work it needs a database of pictures in which to compare real times images. However, this does not stop the systems from establishing patterns. The computer system can track a person by their actions, or pattern of actions and that person does not need to be in the database.

A person may appear in once place today and another tomorrow and the system is noting all this and establishing a pattern that can be reviewed by humans if enough “red flags” appear. The red flags would be in most cases pre-determined by human programmers.

There are Things You Can Do to Appear Invisible

Your picture is in the system if you have or have had a picture identification card issued by any governmental agency. Identification (ID) would include state issued driver’s licenses, certain other identification cards, military ID, postal worker ID and anyone that has worked for or is currently working for any governmental agency will have picture identification and thus their picture is in a database somewhere.

The government can access private databases kept by private companies in some cases, and many privately owned companies’ issue picture identification cards. The natural aging process does not confuse the software, so old pictures can be used, because the bone in the nose bridge, for example, does not naturally alter itself with age. The altering has to be done artificially.

Things You Can Do

Makeup can change your face, and the nose is one of the first things that you can alter, because the shape and size is an important indicator for the software.

Keep in mind that any facial recognition software system is programmed by humans and a person cannot possible think up all of the possible variations, so the system can be confused, for a lack of a better term, when it comes to picking you out of a crowd.

  • Makeup putty can alter the shape and size of facial features especially the bridge of the nose
  • Comb your hair so it hangs over parts of the face
  • Contrasting makeup can alter the face by using darker colors on light reflective parts of the face such as cheekbones and foreheads and use lighter colors in eyes that are shadowed like the space between the cheekbones and nose, lower lip, under the chin and so on, the jaw length and shape is a crucial point for the software so altering the shape and how light reflects is helpful
  • Part your hair on a different side of the head or part down the middle and let it hang over parts of the forehead, ears and cheekbones, you can use wigs but alter the wig the next time you go out
  • Use various eyeliner colors that sparkle and obscure light, your objective is to alter the eyes’ shape and depth of the eyes by using colors
  • Wearing eyeglasses when you normally do not, does not work well because this is one variable that can be programmed into the system to be overlooked because they are so common

Computers can identify you by your gait as well, so carry a cane and use it, hunch slightly and do what you can to alter your gait. In most cases, you will not fool a sophisticated system with a few simple alterations but in combination with other things you have done, you may very well fool the system.

Remember patterns can be established and in most cases, you do not realize your life is a series of patterns. You are scoffing already, but it is true and if you pay attention to what you are doing every day, you will realize there is a pattern there.

It is Not Just You Being Tracked It is Your Vehicle As Well

Certain cameras designed to take snap shots of license plates are very common today and some police cars have these cameras installed. Tollbooths take a picture of your plates, as do most service stations when you pull up to pump fuel for your vehicle. Drones, can take a picture of your vehicle plates as well as certain aircraft.

It is extremely difficult to operate under the radar so you must operate without raising any red flags that would cause anyone to investigate further. Your first thought is to pay with cash and to stay off line but in today’s world these two things are a red flag and if you pay with cash everywhere you will get on someone’s radar especially if the purchases are large ones.

  • Use cash to purchases debit/gift cards with small balances on them that can be used once and tossed away
  • Use social media but limit yourself and do not post any personal information, because some people may considered it abnormal if you do not have a social media account

You will always be on the radar but you want to be just one of millions that does not stand out and cause someone to look at you any more closely than they already are.

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Do You Have The Right Winter Clothing for Survival?

Winter Survival Clothing

Winter Clothing What’s in Your Closet?

Another question of course is what is in your survival pack and in your vehicle to protect you against the cold. Clothing is your first line of defense against the cold, and not being properly dressed for the cold can be deadly.

Terms You May or May Not Be Familiar With Include:

  • Radiative Heat Transfer occurs when your body heat simply escapes into the cold air due to lack of insulation
  • Convective Heat Transfer happens when the wind draws heat away from your body, especially from exposed skin
  • Conductive Heat Transfer occurs through direct contact with cold surfaces, cold ground, snow or water
  • Evaporative Cooling takes place when perspiration evaporates, drawing body heat with it, this is how the body cools itself and your body will attempt to cool itself if you sweat under heavy clothing
  • Wind Chill Although it is 15 degrees outside, 15mph winds can make it feel more like zero degrees. Wind chill is based on a combination of both air temperature and wind speed (i.e., radiative and convective heat loss).

For more information on wind chill facts, visit the National Weather Service’s Wind Chill Chart at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/windchill.shtml

Heat transfer from the body means you have poor insulation covering it. Heat always conducts to cold, so a warm body not insulated will transfer its heat to the cold air surrounding the body. This of course cools the body’s core temperature, and once the core body temperature drops three degrees it is in the initial stages of hypothermia.

Layers

Cotton next to the skin will soak up moisture and then cling to the skin. You might as well be wrapped in Saran Wrap. Cotton will not wick the moisture away from the skin, as wool or fleece would. Therefore, it is recommended that you wear wool or fleece next to the skin. Moisture wicked away from the skin will reduce the evaporated process, which of course, is what cools the body.

If you layer your clothing, you can remove a layer to cool down to prevent sweating. Have a layer next to the skin, a heavy shirt or light jacket next and then an outer shell that is waterproof or at least water resistant.

The head if exposed will conduct body heat away from the body so it is important that you keep it covered as well as the neck. The arteries in the neck must be protected to prevent cooling of the blood flowing close to the surface. Chilled blood is directed to the inner body to warm it up but during this process, the cooled blood will also cool the body organs, which lowers the core temperature of the body.

Hands and wrist must be protected and mitten type coverings will do a better job of keeping the hands warm then would fingered gloves. Shooting mittens are available, and they are designed where only the shooting finger is isolated in the coverings. Carry both types if you can.

Feet need protection from the cold and wet. Dry socks are critical or otherwise you could develop immersion foot (trench foot), caused when the feet are wet for an extended period. Not to mention of course frost bite or worse caused by cold wet feet. The temperature does not have to be below freezing to develop emersion foot. Wool socks are ideal, along with appropriate boots/shoes. If you do not have dry socks, you will have to dry your socks. You can dry them in open air, or ideally over a campfire.

Do not set out on any outdoor excursions in cold weather unless dressed properly, even if you plan to be outside for only a short period. Anything can happen that could cause you to be outside in the cold for an extended period so you have to plan for the worst-case scenario.

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Stranded Vehicle

Could You Survive Stranded in Your Vehicle for 10 Days?

SYDNEY – “A 5-year-old boy and his 7-year-old brother were recovering in a hospital Monday after surviving with their father for 10 days in the Australian wilderness with little food and in weather conditions that ranged from stormy to scorching (Associated Press, 2014)”.

According to the report, the trio were on a family road trip when the father took a wrong turn and their vehicle ended up mired in mud. Cell phone service was not available so the father could not call for help. Essentially all they had in the vehicle was some snacks.

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Carrying a Firearm While Hiking Yes or No?

Hiking With Firearm

This article is not advocating for or against the practice of carrying a firearm while hiking the back trails.

This article is talking about a traditional hiking expedition along marked trails and it asks the question “should you carry and do you need to carry a firearm”.

Those opposed to firearms will of course say there is absolutely no reason to carry one under any circumstance. Then there are those that believe that a person should be able to carry one anywhere at any time, and that there should never be any restrictions.

Then there are those in the middle that may wonder is there a reason to carry one in a particular circumstance, and those same people may realize that logic should dictate actions in some cases when it comes to firearms.

Some are of the mind that you are either hunting or hiking, and a firearm is just additional weight in a backpack when you are not out looking to put food on the table.

Some new to hiking or to the wilderness in general may believe that if they wander into the woods wild animals will immediately attack them. This can happen of course, but it is rare even though stories of animal and human encounters generally make the news. The reason they do make the news is that encounters of this sort are relatively rare. Of course, if you really are in the back woods and not along a well marked hiking trail then encounters are more apt to happen.

A handgun while maybe a comfort would not be effective against a bear, mountain lion or moose. In some cases the fact a person has, a firearm may make them task risks with animals that they would not normally take. Taking selfies with wild animals is a very dumb idea whether you have a suitable firearm or not.

You are more likely to be robbed or mugged closer to home than you are along a hiking trail, but again it is not unheard of. If you feel strongly about this and you can legally carry a handgun in the particular area you are hiking then do so, if for nothing more than your peace of mind. Again, if you were in a very remote area of the backcountry, then a firearm would make sense, for more than just self-defense.

Before beginning any outdoor adventure, you have to plan for what ifs. What happens if you get lost, are injured, or encounter severe weather, will a firearm help you.

A firearm can be used to signal for help as long as you are not in avalanche country. Three shots is a standard distress signal and a firearm can be used to kill game for food and for self-defense in some extreme cases as well, while lost or stranded.

What are the various laws concerning concealed and open carry in the areas you are hiking. Established trails are usually on federal or state land, so it is important that you know the laws. A handgun in a backpack would be considered a concealed weapon by most standards.  Forty percent of the Appalachian Trail (AT) for example is owned by the National Parks System, and the trail meanders through several different states and jurisdictions.

Discharging a firearm in avalanche country is dangerous for obvious reasons. You may lose your firearm if it is in your pack and your pack is lost in a river crossing or while canoeing or kayaking. These things must be considered before you leave on any adventure with your firearm.

For the average day hiker a firearm would not be useful. A handgun is no match for bears and other large animals, and it would be rare to have to fend off a mugger or some other criminal along the trail. Your best defense is avoidance when it comes to wild animals and knowing something about the animals that you would expect to find in the areas you are hiking.

You may violate state or federal laws and not even know it if you are carrying a firearm on certain hiking trails. The penalties can be stiff and not knowing the law is not an excuse.

To make a decision on whether to carry or not would depend on the threat you feel may be out along the trail. Of course, the fact you can legally carry one may be enough reason for some to carry one and this is fine as long as your wanderings do not move you in and out of various jurisdictions where the laws may vary.

There is a difference between open carry and concealed, and the laws do vary depending on the firearm and method of carry.

Understand why you want to carry one, but if you are new to hiking and think you need a pistol to scare off or kill wild animals you and the firearm should stay home. If you fear being robbed or assaulted along the trail, then again you are better off staying home with your firearm.

It is a personal choice but it should not be an afterthought, it must be given careful consideration and take all laws in to account before setting off on your adventure.

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What a Former Soldier Carries Everyday: EDC Explained

Everyday Carry EDC

People can spend all day imagining possible situations they could find themselves in and then try to come up solutions and items to carry so they can counter the situation or threat.

This can become an endless cycle, of what ifs. The unimaginable can happen to anyone at anytime, but how likely is it to happen to you, and would it matter what tools or materials you had on you?  Having tools and materials on you is one thing, using them effectively is another thing entirely.

Carry things based on necessity and not so much on extreme possibilities, because after all, you only have so many pockets, and you do not want to draw attention to yourself.

Carry certain things based on your job, route to work such as rural routes or city streets and based on the way you get to work such as by train, cab or bicycle, and carry based on known, or possible threats that you have determined do exist.

You would have to assume that if you travel country roads to work you might need certain items, like matches, lighters and other fire starters for example. These items would not do you much good on a bus or train in the middle of a city. If you ride a bicycle to work then you may need specific items for maintenance for example.

Carry based on where you will be on a particular day. Some of your EDC items may very well change on a daily basis.

Do I Carry a Firearm Everyday?

If you type in EDC in the search bar, you will find various lists of EDC items and the vast majority of them will have a firearm listed. There are multiples of reasons to carry one and just as many reasons in some cases, not to carry a firearm.

If you have to carry one illegally then you are much more likely to be charged with an illegal carry then you are to use the firearm to save your life. You have to decide, this article is not making decisions for you. It is simply giving you a certain perspective.

I carry a firearm occasionally a small caliber pistol that can be easily concealed. Bigger, is not always better in a crowded mall, or on a busy city sidewalk. Range is usually not a factor in most urban environments, so small calibers can be ideal in close quarters combat when neutralizing not necessarily killing is sometimes the objective.

I carry a small caliber pistol a .22 Magnum Revolver in what some of the old timers used to call their “gentlemen’s pocket”. I carry a revolver over an automatic for various reasons. I have nothing against semi-automatics it is your choice.

In years past men of means wore suit coats or overcoats with inside breast pockets where they carried their billfolds and expensive cigars. The common person usually could not afford fancy overcoats or suits of quality so they stuffed coins or bills in their pants pockets.

The gentleman’s pocket is where I carry, because if on the off chance I am mugged that is where I would supposedly reach for my wallet to hand over. I have never had it happen, so whether the concept works or not remains to be seen but a firearm must come to the hand quickly and the less moves to get it there the better, right? My firearm is carried chest high in the left pocket because my strong hand is the right hand.

Neck Chain

  • Dog tag chain that breaks away if it is caught on something or someone grabs it. On it, I carry:
  • A small compass
  • P-38 (can opener, not that I would necessarily ever need it but it is about nostalgia)
  • Dog tags
  • Ferro rod
  • A nifty little gadget from Gerber that has a mini pry bar and bottle opener it is called the Gerber Shard and it also has small screw drivers, but frankly they are pretty much worthless but it is a gadget after all and the pry bar is stout enough to open paint cans, pull small nails and so on

Cell Phone

Carry it always

Small Note Pad and Stainless Steel Ball Point Pen

Great for mapping rooms for exit/entrances, note cover and concealment, general note taking, and of course for grocery lists. Pen can be used as a weapon.

Canvas Belt with Accessories Attached Such As:

  • A Handcuff Key
  • Cord cutter it is a tool made by Kershaw and it also has a bottle opener, flat head, and a slot for opening closing oxygen tanks it also has a finger hole to hold the tool if you are doing repetitive cutting of cordage, I tested it and it will cut plastic ties
  • Optional items could include Paracord

I have worn a belt ever since I could pull my own pants up. I wear a heavy canvas type with a subdued black buckle. On the backside of the belt where it meets the middle of my back, I have sewn a handcuff key. It is attached so it can be broken loose with little effort.

I also have a small tool that has a cord cutter on it, sewn on the backside near the handcuff key. The main purpose for this tool is to cut through zip ties or rope. Am I paranoid, yes of course I am, because I have been restrained in the professional cuffs with the little section in the middle that adjusts each wrist separately, almost impossible to get out of unless you can cut the ties off.

At one time, I had attached two 33-inch lengths of Paracord to the underside of the belt. I attached them with some thread and I did need a heavy needle but I always had cordage. I have since stopped carrying cordage this way.

You can attach just about anything to the underside of a canvas belt with a little sewing thread and some needles.

Do I Wear a Paracord Survival Bracelet Anymore No?

I do not wear a survival bracelet, anymore. I tried a few and even made some of my own and simply never got into carrying cordage this way. I tore one apart once, and to save the length by doing it properly, it took me 45 minutes. Not sure if the bracelet was made right or I was doing it wrong, it does not seem like it is worth the effort for me. If cordage is important to you wear some like a belt by threading through the loops and then tie off.

Multi-Tool

Carry everyday a Gerber or Leatherman I have both, and it is one tool I find I need almost daily for one thing or another, carried in a small pouch with belt loops.

Folding Knife

Knife with pocket clip that has a spring assist for one handed open and close. I alternate from Gerber, Kershaw to Schrade.

Mirror: Used To Carry But Not Anymore

For years in the military, I carried a mirror every day. It was used for grooming, signaling and for applying camo paint to the face. It was also used to direct sunlight to tracks or impressions in the soil. Using a mirror, I was able to direct stronger light to the track or impressio so the details were highlighted. Hunters can benefit from a mirror when tracking game.

I do not carry one anymore but some may find one beneficial.

Penlight

Carry one every day and if I expect to need a bigger on a particular day I will switch out.

Watch

Have worn one every day since I could tell time

Wallet

Never leave home without it

Key Chain

It only carries the car keys though, because if they are stolen or lost I do not want a house key on it or any useful tools.

Considerations

There are universal tool pouches with belt loops that could conceivably carry all that you need in one place. The pouches can be picked up and any Lowes, Home Depot or even some retail department stores.

Your carry is your carry based on your personal preferences, perceived or known threats or known situations you may find yourself in. In other words, everyone carries something different from someone else.

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10 Awesome Uses For Trash Bags

55-Gallon-Trash-Bags

The ubiquitous 55 Gallon black garbage bag was designed with a one purpose, one time use in mind; to contain garbage and get it to the dump. It’s a shame that millions upon millions of these bags end up with the same fate. Some lucky bags find themselves in the hands of preppers. These bags can find many uses, from rain ponchos to camp showers. If you don’t already have the basic black garbage bag in your pack, get one, and here is 10 reasons why you should:
 

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Shotgun Versus Handgun for Home Defense or Do You Need Both?

Shotgun vs Handgun Home Defense

A combat veteran was asked once if he preferred a handgun to a long gun for his home defense. His response was he always carried a pistol so he could fight his way to his rifle. This of course is not advice on what to do as far as home defense weapons are concerned. The statement was presumably tongue in cheek, but it gives you an idea of how some feel about various firearms.

In most people’s minds a shotgun has more stopping power, does not need as much training to use effectively and some do believe it has more of a terrorizing effect on intruders. First, however, let us clear up the myth about “racking” a shotgun to scare off an intruder. If you are pointing, a shotgun at an intruder or one is within earshot and there is not already a shell in the chamber, you lose.

Point and Shoot

You can point and shoot any firearm, and when facing an intruding and the heart is thumping out of your chest that is probably how you would end up aiming and shooting. A shotgun would likely be more accurate in this case especially if you are using birdshot.

A handgun for some people takes more training to become accurate but remember you will only be a few feet away from most intruders or any other aggressor out to do you harm. However, even at a few feet you may not hit your target with a pistol while in a panicked state.

Training equals confidence and accuracy, so you do need hours upon hours of range time to master a handgun or shotgun. To master a weapon means you are accurate with it under stress, can load by feel in the dark under stress, knows the rudimentary mechanics of it, and can maintain it in proper working order.

Size and weight make handguns the preferred choice for many people. A pistol can literally fit under your pillow, lay on a nightstand or be tucked in a drawer in strategic locations around the home.

A shotgun can be propped in the corner for easy access. Some even lean one in the corner near the front door, so when answering the door they can grab it quickly. On the other hand, if you are sleeping and someone kicks in your front door, where is the shotgun, hidden behind the smashed door of course?

Obviously, you would move the shotgun to a more accessible position when you go to bed at night and if you do not, well then, you lose again.

A firearm is only effective when it is in your hands when you need it, not propped somewhere or tucked in a drawer. If you want, a firearm in the home you have to make sure it is accessible when you need it.

Some people claim that a shotgun is not maneuverable in tight places. What tight places, are you talking about, are you practicing in your attic? You are not stalking intruders up and down narrow corridors or crawling through tunnels hopefully.

We are talking your home here. However, you may have to move from room to room and if you do not have enough practice time in you may bang the barrel in doorways in your haste. Even with minimal practice, you can learn to maneuver a shotgun in virtually any space.

Who Else Is In the Home?

Not everyone can handle the recoil of a shotgun, and if you have adults in the home that cannot use the firearms in the home then you need to get firearms they can use. Every adult in the home should be proficient with any firearm available. If a 12-guage has too much recoil consider a 20-gauge, and even then it may be too much so a handgun is the logical choice.

Considerations

Safety of course comes first, so if you have small children a handgun may not be your preferred choice, because little hands can manipulate a handgun much easier than a shotgun.

Much is made about stopping power, when it comes to firearms. In most instances, shots are exchanged from just a few feet apart, so even a .22-caliber could be effective. A shotgun has more stopping power of course but again not everyone can handle a shotgun.

There is not a right or wrong choice, but there is your choice, so whatever firearm you choose you need to master it along with everyone else in the home old enough to use it. If you are the only one that can use the firearm, and you are not home when something happens, where does that leave your family?

Do not be one of those people that hear of a break-in down the street and immediately run out to buy a pistol or shotgun. When you purchase things based on fear you will make bad choices about what firearm would work best for you and your family. Consider all options and do not drag it home and toss it on a high shelf and proclaim the home protected. The day you bring one home is just the beginning.

Consider the cost of ammunition, accessibility to a firing range, and know the local, state and federal laws concerning the ownership and use of a particular firearm.

Do you live in an apartment building, condominium or heavily populated neighborhood where round penetration through walls and doors could injure someone else and of course consider round penetration through the walls and door of your own home.

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Keeping Your Diet Right When the SHTF

SHTF Diet

This article is not necessarily a plan, but more of a reminder that during a crisis, much of your focus will be on food. Lack of food during a crisis or at any time is detrimental to your physical as well as mental health. People look forward to meals and waking up in the morning knowing there is no food for the day can and will make the day a very unproductive one.

Most everyone knows you can go in excess of three weeks without food and still survive. However, just after a few days without food, your mental function slows, and your energy levels decrease.

Survival is hard work and hark work requires calories from the right foods. Tasks will have to be accomplished that will keep you alive. You need to be alert and ready to tackle any situation that arises and you may not be able to do all this on an empty stomach.

Twinkies, Slim Jims and Pringles/chips are not survival food. They may work for a few days, but even though Twinkies are thought to be able to survive a nuclear blast, they are not good for you during a crisis or at any time for that matter. You have to eat well during a crisis for a variety of reasons. You will need energy and good mental function that only comes from a well balanced diet.

Salty, sugary snack foods should be avoided. Children and adults can snack on nuts, cheeses, jerky, certain crackers and dried fruits or even on cans of fruit. Sodas should be avoided. They only provide empty calories, and do little for hydration.

You can make tea without sugar, and certain sports drinks can provide some minerals and vitamins while helping to keep a person hydrated. Real Lemon packets that are shelf stable can be added to water and teas for flavor.

Protein is important and getting enough during a crisis can be a problem. Empty calories do not provide nutrition and many foods, are just that, empty calories.

Obviously, stockpile what you will eat, but remember fresh foods are not likely to be available. Unless you are raising your own fresh chickens, beef and pork for example, you will have to get your protein somewhere else.

There are numerous options, how you choose depends on your personal preferences, and in some cases, it may depend on your survival plan. Any crisis can force you to evacuate, and this is not necessarily the same as bugging-out. You may be forced to leave until floodwaters recede, until a wild fire is contained and so on. Many evacuations are short-term with the intention of returning home in a few days.

You cannot pack any appreciable amount of canned goods into your bug-out bags so foods will have to be chosen carefully. You may have convinced yourself you would never bug-out, and in most cases, sheltering in place is the best option, but you should always plan for the worst case scenario, and this means you will need foods that can be carried in a backpack without adding significant weight.

Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are ideal for bug-out-bags. They can be eaten cold and each meal will provide roughly 1,200 calories. Each adult should plan for two MRE’s per day. Each meal is self-contained often times with snacks and drinks and in most cases and they come with eating utensils.

Other options include dried fruits and tuna and chicken that is in foil packets that do not require refrigeration until opened, so consider these essentially single serve packages for your bug-out-bag as well.

Snack on peanut butter and crackers along with nuts and seeds for essential fats, oils and protein.

Dehydrated foods for on the go are not ideal because of preparation times, the fact you need a heat source and you would have to carry additional water for reconstitution of the foods.

Protein bars, dried meats and nuts are an option for your bags as well. Typically, they would be used for supplemental/snacking purposes but if other foods were not available, they would sustain you for a limited time.

Canned foods are the go-to choice for many people for their home’s emergency food stockpiles. Canned foods can be eaten without any preparations, have an adequate shelf life and canned foods offer a good variety. Along with your canned products, you can add dried meats, hard cheeses, and peanut butter for additional protein, dairy and other essentials.

It is recommended that the average adult have as a minimum one can of protein a day such as tuna or canned chicken, one can of vegetables, and one of fruit. For a family of four this is 12 cans per day, which will take considerable shelf space, and once again, if you have to leave you could only carry a limited amount.

Plan to provide between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day for an average adult. Of course, larger persons will require more calories so factor this in. Obviously, you may not have a choice on how many calories you consume in some cases, but planning and having adequate supplies on hand can help you avoid malnutrition during a crisis.

Remember, during a crisis your activity level may increase and so your calorie intake would have to increase as well to sustain energy levels. You may have to walk or bicycle to the nearest emergency relief station, for example, and chores done using power tools today, will have to be accomplished by hand, when the power goes out, so assume that you will be doing more physical work during certain emergencies.

For long-term sheltering in place, you will need in addition to canned foods, dried foods that have an extended shelf life. Dehydrated foods are one option along with pastas, dried beans, rice and various other grain products. Dried foods will require water for preparation and an adequate heat source along with the proper cooking utensils/pot, pans.

Powdered milk is a staple that should be on your shelf whether you drink milk or not because during a crisis it will provide you with many essential vitamins, which are needed by everyone.

You can buy drinks or powders such as Ensure to make sure everyone is receiving adequate vitamins and the right kind of fat daily. It would be a good idea to have enough on hand for each person to have a serving daily of supplemental vitamin drinks. Of course, vitamin tablets or chews would be ideal as well.

Spices are important as well as cooking oils and cooking utensils. You may be forced to cook over an open flame so make sure you have pots, pans and utensils that can be used with high heat. Plastic spatulas and cheap aluminum pans may not hold up.

Flour, honey, yeast, salt, sugar, cocoa powder and other essentials for baking are also something you should have on hand. Honey is ideal for those with a sweet tooth but avoid feeding honey to infants under a certain age.

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Cyber Terrorism: We All May Be Living Off the Grid Soon

Cyber Terrorism

Sony Pictures has been hacked, and people are breathless as they pour over the leaked emails and other personal information. People love a scandal, but how the emails and other information were obtained, should scare everyone in the country, and make them think twice about what the future holds. As people devour the juicy details, are they asking themselves, who or what is next? It’s a large corporation today. Will it be a major city tomorrow?

Corporations and banks are being hacked almost daily it seems. Probes from hackers are ongoing. They search for weaknesses, and then exploit them. There are weaknesses in every system and some nations have so-called hacking teams that work around the clock.

All this information can add up to confusion and fear, and it does make people wonder what is coming next. Well there is always something next, some crisis, some disaster lurking in the shadows, but is it the big one, is it a doomsday scenario or Armageddon.

Those that predict that something will happen will see their prophecy come true at some point, because “something” always happens. Predicting something will happen tomorrow is the same as a sign hung in a bar offering “free whiskey tomorrow”, and when people show up tomorrow for the free whisky the bartenders shrugs and point to the sign that says free whisky tomorrow. Tomorrow always comes and yet there is always another tomorrow that will come after.

Predictions are easy, getting ready for what they are predicting is another matter entirely. However, when the proof is evident for all to see it is no longer a prediction, it is reality.

There are nations out there that very likely have the capability to shutdown the power grid in this country. Can they be stopped is one question, but regardless, you have to assume they cannot be stopped, because otherwise you would not prepare. The next question is if they do have the capability will they use it, again you have to assume they would.

Can We Even Prepare

Some truly believe they can live without electricity and live without all the technology that depends on electricity. Some of course can, but in reality, not many will be able to for an extended period.

You have to be able to survive long enough however, until the country recovers, and this means preparations must be ongoing. A well-stocked pantry is good, but you also need a plan for when the shelves are bare. Thinking you have enough right now is a mistake. You need renewable sources, because a stockpile of food and water does not reproduce itself, it shrinks, and you need a plan that replaces.

City dwellers will suffer the most because if a hacker decides to target the water treatment plant in your city then all public water is suspect and cannot be consumed or used for any purpose. Are you prepared if you awaken one morning and the blaring headlines are proclaiming that the city water is contaminated, or it has not been properly treated because the computers were compromised and the chlorine levels were tampered with?

We All Know What Needs to Be Done the Problem is Can We Do It

As you sit here and read this, you may think you can. The television is mumbling in the background, one of the kids is showering upstairs and the furnace is humming softly spilling out warm air.

You believe you can, and you probably have prepared to some extent, but most people prepare with a deadline in mind. Even with all the information out there, many still assume that when the power goes out it will come back on at some point, so they prepare thinking they know what the end game is, and that is that power is restored within a certain period.

Try going off grid for just a weekend, and you will see how difficult it is. Most everyone has endured a few hours, days or even a few weeks without electricity. You endured however, with the thought it will be back on any minute. 

Your electricity may be out and you can endure because power outages are typically localized. What happens when it is country or region wide? Transportation of every sort would stop, planes grounded and trains sitting idle and empty, gas stations and banks shuttered and grocery stores vacant.

You Have To Decide

You have to decide what it is you need to do and base it on known threats and we already know what some countries can do with a computer. Most city dwellers cannot just pick up and move to the countryside, where land is plentiful or so some think, and even if just a third of the people did do this, then there would no longer be rural areas. The reality is in most cases, where you live now is where you will have to survive a power grid failure.

Prepare based on the threat and your environment. You have to take measures if you do not have access to land and thus a private water source. No one is sure of anything however, because no one has had to live through a nationwide grid failure.

You prepare based on the facts available and common sense. One thing is for sure though. You will need provisions and the will, knowledge and skills to live for an extended period without technology. The country would recover from a destroyed power grid. How long it takes is the big question, because anyone can survive a few days, a few weeks and in some cases a few months, but a few years?

Many will die and the positive aspect is of course less competition for resources and those that do survive will be the stronger and in some cases the smartest among us. The ones that have what it takes to start rebuilding.

What does it feel like when the lights really go out and you know it is probably nationwide. Do you think you can now start preparing? There are no do over’s, if you do not have it now you will not have it when the lights go out.

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A Day Hike Can Turn Into a Nightmare in a Matter of Hours

Day Hike Safety

Stranded on the Trail Is Where You Come Face To Face With Reality and Possibly Death

How many more hikers, snowmobilers, anglers and hunters need to get lost or stranded and die along the trail before others that venture out into the wilderness wake up to the harsh realities.  Nature does not adapt to you, you adapt to it, and if you refuse or simply cannot then you may very well die.

Take this horrific story for example: Illinois father and two sons freeze to death during hike (Murphy, 2013).

Decareaux, his wife and five children of Millstadt, Illinois, were staying at an Ozarks lodge, and according to those that knew the father stated he was an experienced hiker and Air Force veteran.  The father and his two young sons decided to go hiking along the Ozark trail. The weather starting out was 60° F. They were all dressed in light jackets, sweaters, and with nothing else with them expect for a flashlight and cell phone according to the report.

Once along the trail it started to rain, and the temperatures dropped into the 40’s and apparently, they refused a ride from a passerby back to their cabins after three hours into their hike. According to the report, they probably took a wrong turn along the trail in the dark.

All three were later found dead and medical experts concluded all three died of hypothermia after spending the night unprotected in the rain and deadly cold. The temperatures near early morning had dipped into the 20’s. Soaking wet and exposed to below freezing temperatures.

Questions

Why not accept the ride back to the cabin, why no backpacks with a few bottles of water, why no rain gear, or gear of any sort and why just light clothing. It was winter in the Ozark Mountains. Of course, it is easy to say now he should have known better.

Was it pride, was he showing off for his two sons, what was going though his mind. Furthermore, what will be going through your mind the next time you decide to take a short hike, along a well-marked trail?

The father obviously did not realize he was in a survival situation when a passerby offered them a ride. In any survival situation, you have to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity. You have to know the dangers so you can counter the perils. Like a child that does not know, that playing in the streets is dangerous until they gain the knowledge. Until they are taught, the skills needed to survive.

Think Before You Act

Before venturing out in any situation, you need to know the most likely dangers and the not so likely. Wintertime in the Ozarks means snow, freezing rain and hypothermia. Even survival experts get lost, but they survive because they prepared themselves for the possibility.

If you have no idea on how to start a fire or build, a shelter in the rain and cold then you had better stay home. Sunny and 60 degrees’ starting out does not mean it will be that three hours into the hike. Know the possibilities so you can prepare for them.

It is tragic and unfortunate but ego probably played a role. Everyone that has ever hiked along a trail knows the dangers for the most part, but people tend to assume that tragedies befall someone else, some stranger.

The father knew better but went ahead anyway, that is what makes it so heartrending. The fact that the deaths could have been avoided with just a small backpack and some materials and provisions will leave family and friends pondering “why” for the rest of their lives.

Heavier clothing, a tarp or small tent and fire making tools and materials could have saved them, probably would have saved them in all likelihood. The father had a cell phone and flashlight with him. The cell phone battery was dead, and the flashlight did not work.

You have to learn from this horrible event. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. If you do not have it with you, then you will not have it. If you cannot carry a backpack with a few supplies and materials with you on any outdoor adventure then you have no business wandering around in the woods, especially in the wintertime.

People will still think to themselves even after reading the above story, “It is only a few hours hike along the trail, what can happen to me”. A day hike can turn into a nightmare in a matter of hours, even in a matter of minutes in some cases. 

You cannot learn survival skills on the job. You must have the needed skills and knowledge before you need to use them to save your life. You will need to practice to the point that there is no question of your skill. No question that you can start a fire in any weather condition, no question you make a shelter and no question that you always have what is needed in your pack and on your person. Forget pride and egos die along with the person that left unprepared.

Like the father along the trail you may have others that depend on you for their survival, do not let them down.

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