Friday, 10 April 2015

07:52 – I got a couple dozen chemistry and forensic kits built yesterday, just in time to fill overnight orders. I’m working on more biology kits today.

This week was consumed by taxes and kit stuff, so I didn’t get much done in terms of prepping. Here’s what I did to prep this week:

I almost gave up on it early, which would have been a mistake. Here’s an email I sent to the author yesterday (which includes minor spoilers):

Hi, Steven

As a prepper for more than 40 years, I downloaded your Jakarta Pandemic a few days ago when Amazon had it for free. (I’m giving away my age group when I tell you that my first reaction to the title was that you’d misspelled Djakarta…)

I really wasn’t expecting much. I’ve seen so many post-apocalyptic and prepping novels by self-published wannabe authors that I’ve come to expect them to be mediocre at best and usually just about unreadable. I was surprised to see that you’re actually a pretty talented writer.

I’ll admit that my first reaction to many of the points that “Gunny” raised in an early one-star review of the book was complete agreement. I liked Charlie Thornton as soon as you introduced the character and your initial representation of him as loony-toons nearly turned me off reading the rest of the book. I’m glad I continued. Gunny’s other points about Alex breaking his own quarantine rules and so on seemed valid until I realized that most people think they know what they’d do in a given situation but when faced with that situation may in fact take completely different actions. People are nothing if not unpredictable.

Same deal when Alex faces down Manson and his goblins. I agreed with Gunny that Alex would have to be nucking futs to go into that situation voluntarily with an empty shotgun. I’d go into it with my shotgun in Condition One. Hell, Condition Zero.

But as I read and thought about what you wrote I realized that you had in fact thought all of this through and were writing Alex as a nuanced character, as subject to doubt and inconsistencies as any real human. That’s when I realized that you were a real writer, so I immediately bought the first book in the Perseid Collapse series, just to make sure it was queued up and waiting when I finished the first book.

After reading the Perseid Collapse, I went over to your website and downloaded book two in that series and then turned around and bought book three. Now I feel guilty because I have four of your books and got two of those for free.

Incidentally, if I have one criticism of Jakarta, it’s that I found a lot of stuff that the proofer should have caught, from simple typos to sentence fragments. This was particularly evident in the last half of that book.

As someone who’s been writing professionally for 20 years, I can’t imagine not using a “kitchen cabinet” to catch stuff like that. I’ve used volunteer proofers/editors for every book I’ve written, and they’re very good at catching stuff before the publisher’s copy editor sees the manuscript. And not just typos and barbarisms, either. I’m currently writing a non-fiction prepping book, which I’ll self-publish in print with Amazon CreateSpace, and I have quite a few volunteers who make substantive comments on the content itself. They’ve made me rethink in several cases.

At any rate, congratulations on your prepping novels. Any more in the works?

Best regards.

Bob

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.


77 thoughts on “Friday, 10 April 2015”

  1. Worked on radio stuff, SDR, shortwave and scanners. I, like most preppers, assume that shortwave will be an important source of information. I don’t know how likely that is now that I’ve spent a few days tuning around. Outside of a really big collapse, the current on air programming is paid for EXPLICITLY as propaganda. There is almost no news aimed at North America (and no stations focusing on us), so any info from that direction is very hit or miss. Most of the strong stations (at least here on the Gulf Coast, with an antenna biased east and west, are religious stations or in Spanish. While Radio Havana plays some great latin jazz, there isn’t a lot of news coming from there. The aussie stations I’ve heard are focused on local issues.

    Got some more plants in the garden and have 2 beds to go. Spring may be almost over here, it was warmer outside than inside, even at 7 am. Moister too, truth be told. Radishes and turnips are coming along, onions are sprouting (on this second attempt, we’ll see if they get eaten) citrus trees have flowered (limes and lemons anyway) and might be setting fruit. Peach flowered, but not heavily. Nothing from the grapefruit or orange tree yet. Herb garden seems to be taking. Even if everything does well, it really isn’t more than a couple of months of supplemental food. You couldn’t live on it alone. If you are not currently gardening, you need to start. It is a skill that needs practice. It doesn’t take much ongoing time once the beds are in, mostly watering and thinning, and you can automate the watering.

    Had a minor prepper fail this morning. Thursday is my fresh grocery day, but I had Dr’s appointments. I managed to run out of eggs, and not notice in time to thaw the backup liquid eggs. Cereal for breakfast, and the wife wasn’t impressed. In my rush to get the family out the door I completely forgot about the shelf stable breakfast entrees. Fail.

    Was hanging out at the toy store, and was surprised to see there was a mini-run on AK’s. No obvious reason, but in the 2 hours I was there, 2 sold from inventory to walk in customers, and one sold to an internet transfer. It kind of freaked everyone out. Did we miss some news? (I consider close ties to a ‘toy’ store to be a prep. Even if the owners are not traditional preppers, they are good people, and there are obvious attractions there.)

    On a related note, people are starting to notice what’s going on. I had one friend, who is politically aware but not a prepper, ask me about the garden. Real questions about effort and time and cost. He’s thinking of starting one. Other folks are carrying extra mags and have upped their vigilance level. Several are looking at security systems in the wake of some local breakins. Even my wife has noticed the increase in people who are ‘not from around here’ walking thru our quiet neighborhood and the surrounding area.

    Property crimes are up in our surrounding area too. Several local ‘toy’ stores have been robbed in the last few months, which is REALLY not good news. Our side is not the only ones who are arming up.

    My list of goals for the next week or two:

    Get some powdered eggs!
    Service the geni.
    Service the UPS.
    Get the chainsaws in order.
    Finish the planting.
    More security- passive and active for the house.
    Antennas!
    Inventory and organize storage food, I’ve got some in a crate from Y2K (kept as givaways) and there was an exploded can. Nasty- but I just resealed the crate as I was too busy at the moment.
    Sell more stuff.

    Stay alert, keep stacking,

    nick

  2. Why we prep:

    Last night tornadoes ripped across Illinois.

    “Violent storms and one or more tornadoes swept across north central Illinois Thursday night.

    One person died in the tornado in Fairdale, and several others were hurt. That tornado hit around 7:15 p.m.

    The storm outbreak cut a path of destruction for 50-miles south of Rockford.”

    Note that “north central Illinois” is really just west of Chicago. Rockford is a regional airport for Chicago. It’s not too much of a stretch to think of Rockford as a far western suburb (although it USED to feel like way out in the country.) So the headline COULD have read “Twister wipes out town just outside of Chicago, millions at risk.”

    It’s a reminder to have at least your 72hr kit duplicated somewhere other than your home. If your home is gone or you have to evacuate, you still need access to your preps.

    nick

  3. I’ve never counted much on SW, although I keep a LW to 30 MHz battery/crank/solar radio for emergencies. I figure that, short of a real extinction event, the hams will be busy and I’d believe what they have to say much more than what a commercial or government broadcaster has to say.

    I’m not too worried about armed goblins. They focus on the hardware. I’ve never yet heard of one who actually practiced. Put a few hunters and hobby shooters up against a whole bunch of well-armed goblins and I know which group I’d bet on. At 200 yards, a few real shooters with scoped .308’s beats a whole bunch of Uzis and TEC-9’s every time.

  4. Due to the ongoing tax mess and VA appointments I haven’t had much time for the prep stuff this past week. I did manage to cut away a good bit of brush away from the house and do away with potential hiding sites for malefactors.

    Made some determinations concerning firearms defense here and also researched antennas, while continuing online course work on web dev and network security.

    Working, too, on Technician license and FFL.

    Interesting on the AK’s selling from the toy store; my impression is that more peeps may be looking to the AK platforms as a viable alternative for mid-range defense since the recent flustercluck with AR ammo.

    Agreed on the shortwave as a prepper tool; I’ve run into the same thing here; most of the stations we can pick up tend to be crappy music, talk radio and agitprop from foreign gummints. I’m still trying to find a reliable straight news reporting source.

    Haven’t got around to programing the Baofeng but I’ve downloaded Chirp.

    Also haven’t finished modding certain other tools around here; the week has been a fail for any substantial prepping activity.

    Partly sunny now but it’s been extremely windy again for 48 hours and counting and we’re expecting rain later. Mrs. OFD will be winging her way back tonight from NYC and instead of having two weeks off, she’s leaving again on Sunday for Denver. Agreed to do the gig ’cause they had no one else. Also told them they gotta pay for the works in advance ’cause we have no money and they said they would. She is exhausted and not very happy. I will try to jolly her up somehow.

    And now we hang until at least Monday/Tuesday waiting to see if the IRS geheimstatzpolizei will let us have our nearly $25,000 as the bills continue to pile up and both vehicles need work and Princess has to pay for her harp lessons and rental, etc., etc.

  5. Most of the traditional shortwave news sources, out of Europe such as BBC, DW, or RFI, have either mothballed or dismantled parts of their HF transmitting plants that were aimed at North America. Too expensive compared with internet distribution.

    However, there are still English language programs from these stalwarts, but using antenna patterns and transmitter locations that favor Africa, Asia and South America where shortwave is still a viable means of transmitting information.

    There’s a nicely done web site that consolidates all the various shortwave broadcast schedules at http://short-wave.info/index.php – you can search by time, language, frequency, source, etc. and the map will show the transmitter location and a day/night grayline map.

  6. ” At 200 yards”

    But will you GET 200 yards? Not in most city or suburban areas. I’m afraid most encounters that are more than ‘one on one’ or ‘a few on one’ will be SWARMS.

    Think flash mobs and riots. Think roadblocks. Think organized gangs moving methodically thru an area.

    You can shoot one, or even a bunch, but then shear numbers will overwhelm you. And random bullets will kill you just as well as aimed bullets. At some point, quantity has a quality of its own.

    Most neighborhoods are not defensible. There are no real barriers to movement, and you can be attacked from any direction. Even gated communities have a large perimeter and are surrounded by the folks they built the gates to keep out.

    Even if you could, where do you get the materials to set up a perimeter? You have to be pretty hard core to stockpile barb wire and fencing (or be in a non-urban area, and then you have different needs). You can use vehicles to block streets, but they are not cover and they are easy to move out of the way. Got Jersey barrier?

    Where do you put your defenders? How do you provide them hard cover? Any sniper will attract attention, lots of it, if he’s exposed.

    There are bigger questions too. Once you’ve self identified as a fort, how do you deal with the siege? How do you exit and re-enter? If you look like you’re worth the fight, you will certainly get the fight.

    Serious questions, and I’d love to hear some other people’s thoughts on improvised/stealthy/prepared defensive positions or perimeter defense.

    nick

  7. Hey Jack, I looked at that, and I’ve been using http://www.shortwaveschedule.com/index.php?now=true to identify what I’m listening to.

    I’m not gonna sell my SW radios, and I’ve got small ones in my various stashes, but I’m deprecating it somewhat in my plans. It’s a great example of the sort of untested assumptions that are rife in prepping circles. Everyone recommends having a SW receiver for news from outside your region after SHTF. I’m inclined to think that there won’t be a whole lot of usefulness outside of some of the more political SHTF scenarios.

    Better to spend that money on a SW capable, if somewhat older, ham transceiver, or a new chinese one. But if you can pick them up cheap, it won’t hurt to have, if you practice and get your antenna up. It’s an easy way to see what band conditions are like in any case, and you can get a feel for the bands and time of day propagation, etc.

    nick

  8. But will you GET 200 yards? Not in most city or suburban areas. I’m afraid most encounters that are more than ‘one on one’ or ‘a few on one’ will be SWARMS.

    Well, on my particular street, it’s about 175 yards from our front walk down to one corner and 150 yards down to the other. (Total line-of-sight on that one is close to 400 yards.) Swarms are what tactical rifles, shotguns, and pistols are there to deal with. Not to mention claymores.

    Most neighborhoods are not defensible. There are no real barriers to movement, and you can be attacked from any direction.

    That actually operates in the favor of the defenders, not the attackers. The defenders are not moving and behind cover. The attackers are moving and unprotected. There can be so many intersecting fields of fire in a typical neighborhood that someone would have to be crazy to expose himself, not knowing what direction and from what window the next bullet would be coming. That’s why military forces absolutely hate fighting in built-up areas.

    You cover the back of your neighbor’s house and his other blind spots, and he covers yours. You’re both covered behind brick walls and so on, while invaders are out in the open.

    Also, these hypothetical goblins aren’t used to being under fire. It’s much more likely that they’ll run for their lives rather than attack in a human wave, even if they’re desperate.

  9. “Think flash mobs and riots. Think roadblocks. Think organized gangs moving methodically thru an area.”

    As in Matt Bracken’s scenarios in recent pieces by him posted at the Western Rifle Shooters site. These are all great questions and issues; one measure is to get the eff away from and out of urban locations. But even in rural areas there are gonna be problems like these.

    “You can use vehicles to block streets, but they are not cover and they are easy to move out of the way.”

    Use junkers and flatten the tires. Booby-trap them, too.

    I still maintain that despite the various issues and problems we know about from recent media accounts concerning them, it would be smart to make the positive acquaintance of local law enforcement and military personnel. And I emphasize local, as in the local cops, and National Guard troops. Along with the nice folks at your local gun and sporting clubs and ranges. Can’t hurt, so long as you maintain opsec.

  10. Cooked some red lentils to compare cooking times with other kinds.

    They cook MUCH faster, save fuel, don’t lie rotting in the gut for so long before digestion.

    Your milage may vary.

  11. For some unknown reason, I bought a 20+lb turkey and cooked it in one of those Reynold’s Bags.
    First time I tried one, and worked perfectly: no mess whatsoever.
    I live alone and now have more frickin’ turkey I know what do do with.

    Made stock which will go into soup, but still have about 10 lbs of meat or more.

    Gots to figure out how to can it, and remember where all my Kerr lids are. I have the seals, just not the lids…

  12. _Enemies Foreign and Domestic_ by Matthew Bracken
    http://www.amazon.com/Enemies-Foreign-Domestic-Matthew-Bracken/dp/0972831010/

    Book number one of a three book series. 576 page trade paperback first published in 2003. I do not think that there will will be any more books in the series due to its age. I have ordered the two other books in the series and will read them soon.

    What would the USA look like if a federal agency has a rogue task force intent upon causing a civil war in the USA? Not very pretty as the civilian population responds with force due to the federal incursion upon civil rights.

    I down-rated the book by a half star since I had a little trouble suspending my disbelief that a federal agency could be so out of control. Otherwise the story is a five star page turner with deep character development.

    My rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (745 reviews)

  13. Man o man, I see a lot of untested assumptions here 🙂

    Well, on my particular street, it’s about 175 yards from our front walk down to one corner and 150 yards down to the other. (Total line-of-sight on that one is close to 400 yards.) Swarms are what tactical rifles, shotguns, and pistols are there to deal with. Not to mention claymores.

    How far is it thru your BACKYARD? How far thru your neighbor’s backyard? Any useful cover or concealment there? Can you even see into your neighbor’s yard? I can’t. Even standing on my roof, I can only see 2 houses in any direction. There are 7 foot tall fences that make great concealment for infiltrators. Not to mention that the HOUSES block both my sight and my fire lane. Many of those houses will be empty or the occupants will be huddled in the back bedroom, not looking thru the curtains. Can YOU see the ends of the street from inside your house and behind cover?

    Most neighborhoods are not defensible. There are no real barriers to movement, and you can be attacked from any direction.

    That actually operates in the favor of the defenders, not the attackers.

    ^^This is the opposite of military doctrine, isn’t it? I’m no 11c or 18C but don’t defensible military positions use several techniques to channel the attacker into prepared fields of fire? And to limit the number of “fronts” they have to defend at the same time?

    The defenders are not moving and behind cover. The attackers are moving and unprotected.

    Why assume that? They could have vehicles and body armor. It’s widely available, and in a long event, available from previous defenders and LEOs. In any case, their ability to MOVE is a plus for them. It is one of the essential legs of US .mil doctrine after all, shoot move communicate. Very much harder to hit a moving target, esp. in low light, rain, or other unfavorable conditions.

    There can be so many intersecting fields of fire in a typical neighborhood that someone would have to be crazy to expose himself, not knowing what direction and from what window the next bullet would be coming.

    I’m assuming they ARE crazy, with greed, bloodlust (or ordinary lust), or hunger. The number of intersecting fields of fire is entirely dependent on the number of defenders, and their willingness and ability to fire in the face of 40 charging savages.

    That’s why military forces absolutely hate fighting in built-up areas.

    That may be true, but they do it anyway. And gangsters and warlords don’t seem to have the same hatred, as it is all they’ve likely known.

    You cover the back of your neighbor’s house and his other blind spots, and he covers yours. You’re both covered behind brick walls and so on, while invaders are out in the open.

    Who is covering the approaches to my house while I’m watching the back? Who is covering the front? Where does that brick wall come from? Most modern houses have brick or stone veneer on the front, but nothing on the back but siding. And why assume the invader is out in the open? He’s more likely sneaking in behind your fence, hiding behind your trees, shooting from around you neighbor’s house, or vehicle borne. And concealment is not cover. Your attacker is armed as you are. His 308 AR pattern rifle blows the same holes in brick walls as yours does.

    Also, these hypothetical goblins aren’t used to being under fire. It’s much more likely that they’ll run for their lives rather than attack in a human wave, even if they’re desperate.

    This is factually false followed by a hopeful assumption. Chris Hernandez (writer, veteran cop, veteran peacekeeper, and veteran NG, with deployments) has some good posts based on his experiences. They are used to being under fire. They have a COMPLETELY different attitude toward being shot than you or I would. And that is today, under ROL. After a few assaults, they would be veterans. In fact many of them WILL be veterans of the US armed forces, or former cops. We have real life examples of that from Katrina. The ones that make it to your neighborhood will be the ones that lived thru the attacks on other neighborhoods.

    The biggest issue I have though, is the assumption that your neighbors will a)be there, b.)not turn criminal themselves, c.)be capable of contributing to the defense. From reading your posts these many years, I’m pretty sure that you are like me. You spend most of every day in your home, in front of a computer. You actually get out more than I do with the astronomy (although you haven’t posted about any nights out lately) and the dog walking. How many of the people on your street do you know by name? How many on each of the streets one block over? How many have guns, training, mindset, and the supplies to bug in and still contribute to the defense of the neighborhood? I’m betting, that the answer to most of those questions is “not many.” I’m guessing that for most of the people in most places the answers would be the same, “not many.”

    I’ll stand by my assertion that suburbia is not defensible against any real threat. Even if you do beat back the first attack or the first few, they will be back with more of their friends until they get whatever you are defending.

    Rural areas are not that great for anything less than the zombie apocalypse either. We have real word examples of that. FerFal has posted some stuff out of Ukraine, and Argentina, Selco shares a lot about his past situation. South African white farmers, and South American folks will be happy to tell you that when you are isolated, it just means that no one can hear you screaming while you are raped tortured and killed. Heck, even Johnny Cash wrote about what happened to him in his remote Costa Rican getaway (IIRC.)

    I hate to be so negative, and it’s not personal. I really do want to hear ideas to overcome any of these things. I just think that most people haven’t given this enough thought.

    nick

  14. @Lynn, by the end of the second one you will likely be deeply committed to the characters. His writing gets dramatically better too, as he moves into story and out of thinly disguised survival manual. There are a LOT fewer ‘info dumps.’

    His 4th book is not as good. Without the overall motivation of the survival manual, it is just a ‘men’s adventure’ novel. Still has some interesting stuff in it, esp wrt reentering the US from the south. Not sure if it is accurate or practical but it is food for thought.

    nick

  15. @OFD, vehicles as barricades only keep out the law abiding. Even with flat tires, they are not too difficult to plow thru. My BOV is specifically outfitted with a push bumper for that very reason. There are LOTS of big pickups around here with multi-hundred pound steel bumpers. Not to mention the commercial vehicles.

    Or the fact that there are front yards, almost perfectly flat and unobstructed on either side of the street.

    Booby traps are great, if available (limited skillset) but only work the first time. All it would take is a follow on vehicle…

    One bigger consideration is the WAY more likely case, when there isn’t WROL but there is still a group threat. You can’t just shoot people. How do you defend against the Ferguson mob simply walking slowly past your perimeter? Once they are at your front door it is too late, and you can’t shoot them until they DO something. There are 200 of them pressed up against your house chanting “let us in, give us food.” They start pushing on the door. You shoot thru the door, or it gives way. You get the first 3 before you are overwhelmed but then what? Angry mob tears you apart. (Scenario from a John Wesley, Rawles novel, not my own.)

    I haven’t even asked what happens when they molotov your house or your neighbor’s house. What if they start burning houses at your perimeter? On 4 different sides?

    Thorny questions all.

    nick

  16. There are 200 of them pressed up against your house chanting “let us in, give us food.” They start pushing on the door. You shoot thru the door, or it gives way. You get the first 3 before you are overwhelmed but then what? Angry mob tears you apart. (Scenario from a John Wesley, Rawles novel, not my own.)

    Safe Room?
    http://www.amazon.com/High-Security-Shelter-Implement-Multi-Purpose/dp/0578118408/

    I haven’t even asked what happens when they molotov your house or your neighbor’s house.

    You are dead meat then. Fire is the number one force that is tough to defend against.

  17. Worst-case thinking is as non-optimum as normalcy bias.

    As to defensibility, I can make very plausible arguments that a suburban home is the most defensible location. And, from a prepping point of view, there are also huge advantages to being located in the suburbs rather than either the inner city or an isolated rural home. Other than some demographic/psychographic issues, a small town off the beaten path also has some advantages, but many of those are canceled out by the advantages to being in the suburbs.

  18. I was raised as a 15 (Aviator) in the Army, but did some training in the MOUT site at Fort Riley. The 11B’s would take us Aviation pukes to the MOUT site, divide us into attack and defend groups, MILES up (laser tag), lock and load blanks and see what we had learned in basic. Pretty much, even with training, both sides have high casualties. In Dr. Bob’s scenario, expect the same.

    Even if you are organized, the first person who get’s a round in the eye and their brains splashed all over, people will run. Better to hunker down, access the situation, and take pot shots, run, hide etc. I barely know my neighbors and I’m sure none of them would fight to the death for me (even if I knew them well). They’d catch someone getting blown away on their phone to see who could get it on YouTube the fastest. Vegas backyards are almost all cinder block fences, so I don’t see hoards coming that way. A typical front door can be kicked in with no problem, though.

    These scenarios are probably beyond the first edition of Dr. Bob’s book. But they are food for thought. If the SHTF in Vegas, if people can’t bug out and have no supplies, expect them at your front door. As Karl Malden said, “What do you do?” I have little idea other than take care of my immediate family.

  19. I think that over the next year or two you’re going to see a lot more suburbanites prepping, although most won’t call it that. Seldom a day goes by that I don’t get at least one email from someone that starts out something like “I’m not a prepper, but …” and then proceeds to tell me that they’re starting to stock up on stuff.

    And more than a few of them will be like Jen, the woman I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. In less than three weeks, she and her husband and her brother’s family went from one of those “I’m not a prepper, but …” emails to having a year’s supply of food and other supplies for all of them and opening discussions with a neighbor who turns out to be a prepper although Jen had no clue that she was until the woman mentioned it to her (having seen Jen and her husband hauling cases of food from their trailer into the basement).

    It won’t be everyone, obviously, nor even close to a majority, but I think it’s starting to happen now. On an unrelated note, I wonder where those billions of rounds of ammo that stores keep selling end up. It can’t all be with shooting hobbyists and Doomsday Preppers. The sheer number of rounds sold every day says that regular people are stocking up. Same deal on rifles and so on.

    And, yes, I know I’m not Delta Force or even anything close to it, nor are any of the neighbors (although one I’m not entirely sure about…). But even regular folks can rise to occasions if there’s no other choice. I suspect a lot of people would be surprised by just how ferocious a defense an average suburban development could put up if they were forced to it.

    Not that I’m expecting anything like that to occur. As I’ve said repeatedly, what I expect is a slow slide into dystopia. Sure, there could be a hideous pandemic or a major EMP or a Carrington-class CME, and the die-off after any of those would be horrific. But in less severe emergencies, 95% of unprepared people would survive and probably close to 100% of preppers. In a worst-case scenario, we might be looking at a 98% die-off among the unprepared and only 95% among preppers. There aren’t any guarantees. All any of us can do is what we can.

  20. “There are 200 of them pressed up against your house chanting “let us in, give us food.” They start pushing on the door. You shoot thru the door, or it gives way. You get the first 3 before you are overwhelmed but then what? Angry mob tears you apart. (Scenario from a John Wesley, Rawles novel, not my own.)”

    That was also in one of Bracken’s books, the second one, IIRC. Up here I’m not sure where such mobs would come from. And still think not many mobs will make it up this far from Megalopolis. My worry about things like this centers, first of all, on our local hoodlums, druggies, and other assorted cretins. Second of all, on the eventual appearance of experienced, trained teams who know what they’re doing. But we don’t got nuttin’ much worth stealing here and plenty of other places do.

    It’s a totally brick house and I can put mesh up on the windows and suchlike and stick fire extinguishers all over, including the attic for any roof fire, but a sustained assault with fire and automatic weapons and explosives would do us in, of course. And no, we probably couldn’t expect much help from our elderly neighbors here.

    But I don’t see this area, Retroville, as a desirable target for anybody; it’s working-class and middle-class and the biggest item anyone owns is likely to be a motorboat.

    We do what we can, on limited budgets, but a whale of a lotta research. These questions are very good.

  21. I’m calling today’s discussion as prepping. Woo Hoo! I prepped today.

    My only other prepping this week was to continue weight loss, physical conditioning, getting a follow up eye exam after LASIK (all is good). I also scheduled getting two fillings replaced with “inlays” next week. I wouldn’t want to go through even a 30-day disaster with a bad tooth. We should talk more about health prepping.

  22. ” We should talk more about health prepping.”

    I gotta get outside and hiking around much more than I do. Also started CPT today at the VA. Got new specs and having minor eye surgery on the 22nd.

    “The police wouldn’t use this on us citizens would they?”

    I fear you labor under a delusion, sir; we are not citizens any longer, if we ever were. We are subjects. The State can do what it likes to us. For now. But eventually maybe enough people will get upset enough to get off their morbidly obese asses, shut off the tee-vee, put down the six-pack of shitty Murkan lager, and pick up a pitchfork and torch, if not a nice AR-10.

  23. I wouldn’t want to go through even a 30-day disaster with a bad tooth.

    Just make sure that you have a pair of pliers.

  24. Some anesthetic would be good, too. And try to sterilize the pliers. And antibiotics.

    Procure a copy of “Where There is No Dentist,” sort of the companion volume to “Where There is No Doctor,” both available also in Spanish, if that is a consideration, hombres….

  25. Procure a copy of “Where There is No Dentist,” sort of the companion volume to “Where There is No Doctor,” both available also in Spanish, if that is a consideration, hombres….

    Got both, should probably print them out.

  26. “Where There Is No Dentist”
    http://www.amazon.com/Where-There-Dentist-Murray-Dickson/dp/0942364058/

    “Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, Revised Edition”
    http://www.amazon.com/Where-There-No-Doctor-Handbook/dp/0942364155/

    I would buy the printed copies. That PC ain’t gonna fire up after a EMP or CME.

    And here is the “Cast Away” scene for removing an abscessed tooth with an ice skate and a rock:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3Zy0o5z1_c

  27. I don’t recommend either of these titles. I’d suggest Ships Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea first and an older edition of Emergency War Surgery.

  28. No kidding? Damn. I’ve had both of those books for years, like MrAtoz. Ordered the Ships Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea. How old “an older edition” of “Emergency War Surgery?” Oldest one on Amazon is 1992; should we look for it at yard sales and used book stores?

    Mrs. OFD arrived and went to MIL’s house and found the Saab had a totally flat tire and didn’t wanna risk driving it 32 miles up here on the doughnut, plus she can be with the soon-to-be 87-year-old instead of the soon-to-be 62-year-old for a night. I’ll pick her up after the dump run in the AM, heading points south anyway, and we’ll do lunch somewhere, probably here:

    http://www.shantyontheshore.com/

  29. Yikes didn’t mean to stomp the discussion.

    Even if defense is hopeless there is still valuable discussion there.

    What is your trigger point for bugging out (even if you’ve previously decided to stay)? Or will you go out in a blaze of glory? Do you have enough extra stuff to make it count?

    Can you escape their notice? Selco talks about this. Pre-loot your house. Make it look like there is nothing left. Can you hide? Do you have a way out? Could be as simple as access to the crawl space and a window that opens into bushes in the back yard…A couple of loose boards in your fence and you are on the other side and on your way to safety unseen. A safe room is only good if they don’t know you are in there. Otherwise, they’ll pry you out one way or another. Should you rent a storage unit across town to stash some backup supplies to grab as you go by?

    Should you be working on getting to know your neighbors? Even here in TX, with all the hurricane prep and recovery, I don’t think I could come up with one defender per household. Many of the households are one 70+ yo lady. Now, they are generally tough (this being TX), but probably not up to sniping from the attic window.

    Upgrading defenses isn’t impossible.

    If I had to defend my neighborhood, I’d chainsaw a couple of trees across the entry road. Trees are hard to push out of the way, especially if you trim some branches so they lay lower than bumper height. Do a zig zag down the road. Drop some lamp posts and electrical poles too if it’s really long term. Intersperse a couple of vehicles as concealment and obstacles. You can use the trees as defensive positions and fall back to cover as needed. You can probably improvise a stockade type wall across the road with trees laying across logs pointed at the entry….

    For defenses closer to home, I’ve got an extra deep sandbox for the kids. I can fill at least a few sandbags (pillowcases) out of it. (Same with my raised beds. They are 2x as deep as needed. If I had to expand the garden, I’ve got lots of soil amendments stocked up. At $35 / yard is was cheap insurance.) You could do the same with gravel or landscape stones as part of your yard. Use a roll of chicken wire to improvise Hesco barrier when needed. The rest of the time it is a fence around the garden.

    Do you have cameras? String and boat flares for trip wires? Actual trip wire to put inside your fence line?

    If your entry door is vulnerable, can you keep people away from it or limit the number? My front door is under a roof. I could close the porch area with ironwork if needed. That gives me a space that they have to get thru to push on the door. If your door is at the top of steps, can you place heavy planters or furniture to take up most of the floor space and limit the number of people that can get to you? Drop a tree across your walk?

    Do you have any night vision? Can you fake it with IR and surveillance cameras? Most of them run on 12v. Can you rig up some motion detectors with cheap X10 sensors?

    Do you have plenty of fire extinguishers? I was seriously short until recently.

    There are things you can do. I think it’s useful to aim for the worst case, at least in a ‘paper’ or ‘tabletop’ exercise, and then game out the issues. Like so many aspects of prepping, getting prepared for something really bad prepares you for the lesser things too. And it might be as simple as deciding when to escalate. When will you add cameras? A security system? Bars on the windows and doors? A For Sale sign? It is one of the reasons to read disaster or prepper fiction, the author, if s/he’s any good, will have done the scenario and game for you. There is probably something you can take away, if only what NOT to do 🙂

    nick

  30. I’ve got a couple of medical links, I’ll put them up as soon as story time with the kids is over…..

    nick

  31. “Yikes didn’t mean to stomp the discussion.”

    You didn’t, as fah as I’m concerned.

    “Even if defense is hopeless there is still valuable discussion there.”

    Agreed, 100%. As I said, very good questions here.

    “Or will you go out in a blaze of glory?”

    Probably. But not ruling out entirely an overland/over wottuh trek to our cottage on the northeastern New Brunswick shore, about twelve hours by vehicle from here.

    “Can you escape their notice? Selco talks about this.”

    Hard to say. We don’t have much here and are not ostentatious about what little we do have. Who is Selco, by the way?

    “Should you be working on getting to know your neighbors?”

    Yes. The regular citizens around here, however, are in our age ballpark or even older. The younger ones across the street are not what I’d call regular citizens and may be a potential threat, although two of them came over to help me push the Saab out of the ice a month ago here. I would do the same for them, that’s just how it is here in rural and semi-rural Vermont; even neighbors that hate each other will pull the other one out of a ditch or run to throw water on a burning barn.

    Them are all good home/hood defensive measures/ideas, Mr. nick. Couple of others I just saw are to grease your steps outside the house and pile up chairs with legs facing out.

    Our front door is kinda close to the street here, with a tiny front yard strip; but this is not a real busy street usually. The supposed speed limit is 10 MPH, kind of a joke, though. As it stands right now, both our front and back doors are laughably insecure; someone my size could easily just punch their way through; they’re ancient and have never been upgraded. I wanna at least get lockable storm doors on the outside and reinforce the existing doors and install better deadbolt locks. If we were expecting attackers, I’d simply board up the front door anyway and put steel mesh over the windows. We may just replace the front doors anyway, though we try to save as much of the old stuff here as we can. This house was built in 1830 when the village was known as Port Washington and had three wharves and passing freight traffic between Montreal and New York City. All long, long gone.

    Good idea on the overfill of the raised beds; and I’m working on a RaspberryPI-controlled surveillance web cam; see how that goes and then probably expand. Another prep thing I’ve done is identify the choke points outside the village here that we’d wanna consider blocking off if need be.

    We are certainly vulnerable, however, to any amphibious landings by evil forces; if we thought that was a threat we’d have to deploy marine obstacles in the bay and mines and try to get Champ to give us a hand…or a flipper….

  32. Selco writes a lot of articles about his home city in Yugoslavia??? getting sieged for a year in the 1990s. He teaches a SHTF survival course and uses his blog to promote that.
    http://shtfschool.com/

  33. Hey Nick, do you live inside 610? My son lives between 610 and Beltway 8, now that is the war zone. His neighbors all work in the medical center in blue collar jobs. They are hard workers but their unemployed family members show up all the time and drink their beer. Those are the trouble makers.

    My son’s neighborhood is seven to four years old. He bought a 3/2/2 house there five years ago for $123K and got a great deal. One of those hardie plank homes with brick three ft up on the front side. This house is around 1,700 ft2 and the lot is about 5,000 ft2.

  34. Thanks to Lynn for the link.

    It is worth reading everything free at Selco’s site for some surprising home truths about life in a besieged modern city WROL. He’s the first person I read who talked about eating grass soup, but not the last. He was an EMT or ambulance driver when it all fell apart. He really has been there and done that, and even though he’s cagey about his real background no one has ever called him out or suggested he’s a poseur.

    The other guy I referred to is FerFal @ http://ferfal.blogspot.com/ He lived and blogged thru the Argentinian currency collapse and has some real insight into life in the big city during that. He occasionally strays into other areas where his advice is just his own, but his historical stuff is great. I recommend his original book even at the price. I gave my copy away and regret it. His thing that really struck me was using gold chains as money, and the observation that you didn’t have to sell the whole thing at once, an inch at a time worked better. That and the observation that you still have to go to work thru the collapse and better have a way to do that. He has some choice things to say about retreating to the country, as does Selco. Recently he’s posted a compilation of posts from people inside Ukraine. The day to day there has valuable truths for the prepper too.

    Someone recently linked to the pdf of the Special Forces Medical Handbook, which is 40 Mb. Ah, it was the guys at Hogwarts.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/2b4rgh3irny27t5/SOF_Medical_Handbook.pdf?dl=0

    You can just close the popup, the pdf is loading in the background. From the intro:

    The Handbook is written for SOF medical personnel performing the mission with the understanding that
    medicine is not a sacred subject practiced only by physicians, but rather skills and knowledge that can be
    learned and used to save lives. There is advice in this handbook that will be viewed as outrageous in traditional,
    conservative, hospital-based medical settings. Only someone struggling with life and death decisions in the
    difficult environment of a SOF medic can appreciate the need for this advice. In other contexts it could be
    viewed as inappropriate, possibly even bordering on malpractice.
    Be advised that the Handbook has limited
    application outside of the SOF context and is not intended for anything other than use by highly trained
    SOF medics.

    Spend some time poking around at Hogwarts too:

    http://griddownmed.com/

    They are focused on getting you ready for post SHTF world.

    The other link I have is to the official UK .gov Ship Captain’s medical guide. It’s 13 chapters and two annexes:

    “Overview

    This manual is written for laymen (non-doctors) working on board a ship. It contains a wide range of authoritative advice and will help you:

    assess and treat injuries
    diagnose and treat illness
    on journeys where you won’t have quick access to professional medical advice

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-ship-captains-medical-guide

    Free and official, aimed at 2 different audiences.

    For printed books, if you have kids or might be responsible for some post SHTF, I can recommend “Pediatric First Aid For Caregivers And Teachers” from the AAP. Available on amazon, despite having an emphasis on legal issues and checking boxes, it will help with the decision of ‘do we need to go to the ER’ and post SHTF should be useful up until the point where the algorithm gets to ‘call ems’. The advice and algorithms are VERY straightforward. I have referred to it several times.

    nick

  35. Hmmm, only 4 links and I went to moderation.

    @lynn, I have a house inside 610 that is now a rental. Massive spike in crime as the neighborhood gentrifies. It is adjacent to a historic district, where alcohol is not allowed. It has the magic money words “inside the loop” in the description. I live in a 40 yo development west of there. Very well kept, we’ve seen a 75% appreciation in our house value in the last year due to the desirability of some nearby villages. We bought it at the previous market peak for $85/ sq ft. I’m smiling as I write that 🙂 I talked to someone who moved here recently from Irvine CA who sold their condo for $430 ft2. They are building a custom home in The Woodlands. They bought just before Exxon announced their new campus up there, so they are laughing too.

    This is the right part of the country to be in economically and for other reasons too. I hope the Saudi game of chicken doesn’t wipe us out, but Houston and TX diversified a great deal from the oil focus after the last crash which should help. We export food and energy, and are port of entry for a huge amount of stuff. We still make things here.

    @ofd, I installed this security door on the rental house after the daylight burglary. It installs easily, looks nice, and feels very secure. Has a multi point locking system. Best of all, it doesn’t look like a security door.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_568829-62847-34915031_0__?productId=50384856&Ntt=security+storm+doors&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dsecurity%2Bstorm%2Bdoors&facetInfo=

    Of course, I used some extra hardware and backing that increased the strength somewhat, and reinforced the jamb when I put in the steel entry door (entry door has a large faceted glass panel, with decorative motif and anti-shatter film). All very subtle, it just looks like a real nice entry.

    nick

  36. @Lynn,

    Your son’s house sounds nice, and very typical for the area. My HOA requires 52% of brick, stone, or masonry on the street-facing side of my house. I’ve got brick. It stopped a spent round one New Years Eve, but I think it would fail when faced with a modern rifle.

    nick

  37. Thanks for that storm door link, Mr. nick. Looks good, and we have an account with our local Lowe’s up here. I like this line: “The adjustable expander conforms to uneven sills for a tight fit.”

    Yeah, we got us some of them uneven sills here, and messed up jambs, too. Our doors inside and out need some work. After we do the living room ceiling and the other half of our windows and shutters. Or maybe at the same time if we get our IRS loot back. Also gotta do the raised beds PDQ. Many projects. Low-tech and high-tech.

    I mentioned steel doors to MIL and she said she’d had them before but they can rust; of course you just gotta deal with the rust. With wood it’s termites and rot. Etc. In any case our doors need really solid and reliable upgrades; part of the struggle here is convincing Mrs. OFD of things we need to be doing, buying and installing. She’s getting better, and every time there’s another B&E in the nooz, or the cops bust a meth house, or they find another dead body in the “city” (pop. 8k) it’s good news for Mr. OFD on that score.

    Boy, this place has really gotten heavy on the prepper stuff recently; and still we wonder, where is Mr. Chuck??? Did he move back to Germany? Kinda worried, actually.

  38. FWIW good propagation tonight. I’m getting great DX from 5 Mhz to 7. It’s all chinese at the moment, chinese from china, havana, and tennessee. And some arabic from Darfur. Some vietnamese from vietnam.

    Good reception though.

    nick

    OFD, look at fiberglas doors. Strength of steel, look of wood, better insulation, and some really pretty inserts. I have a fiberglas door on the front of my house, steel on the back. At the rental, I have wood and glass on the back, but there is a custom metal security door too.

  39. Very good, Mr. nick; muchos gracias for that tip on the doors.

    When you got your doors did you install them yourself?

  40. “So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week?”

    I bought 30 1.25 litre bottles of diet soft drink and 40 or so 1.5 litre bottles of iced tea.

    Yeah, I think this stuff is important and I’ll start making lists of things to do soon, if the zombie apocalypse happens before that I’ll just put Mandy on loop, otherwise I’m screwed.

  41. @OFD,

    I did the work myself. I had hung some doors in the past, and I replaced all the interior doors for cosmetic reasons when we moved into this house.

    Typical for me, other than the security door, each was a bargain. The fiberglas one was a prehung, special order return, that I lucked into at Lowes. It was marked down from $1000 and I made a cash offer of $420. I knew I’d be replacing the front door as it was 40 y.o. and hollow core. I used the door, but not the jamb or sill.

    For my back door, I got one prehung and new, but from the Habitat for Humanity reStore at a significant discount. I used the new jamb and sill. That was a more involved install (and demolition) but fairly straightforward.

    I did the same for the new front door at my rental.

    For the back, I had previously modified the old craftsman style door to replace the lower panel with glass, and welded up the custom steel security door to match. I had it powdercoated in a bronze hammered finish and it has held up well.

    There have been some real good door hanging articles in Fine Homebuilding, and I’m sure other places as well. You don’t need a bunch of specialist tools, common carpentry tools should be enough. If you go slow, and have done any woodworking or building, it should be doable. That said, there are guys who specialize and make their living exclusively hanging doors. Especially on the east coast, you may want one of those skilled craftsmen. The older the house, the more likely you are to have difficulty fitting a modern door.

    nick

  42. Since my response is aging rapidly, and still in moderation, I’ll repost it in halves.

    Thanks to Lynn for the link.

    It is worth reading everything free at Selco’s site for some surprising home truths about life in a besieged modern city WROL. He’s the first person I read who talked about eating grass soup, but not the last. He was an EMT or ambulance driver when it all fell apart. He really has been there and done that, and even though he’s cagey about his real background no one has ever called him out or suggested he’s a poseur.

    The other guy I referred to is FerFal @ http://ferfal.blogspot.com/ He lived and blogged thru the Argentinian currency collapse and has some real insight into life in the big city during that. He occasionally strays into other areas where his advice is just his own, but his historical stuff is great. I recommend his original book even at the price. I gave my copy away and regret it. His thing that really struck me was using gold chains as money, and the observation that you didn’t have to sell the whole thing at once, an inch at a time worked better. That and the observation that you still have to go to work thru the collapse and better have a way to do that. He has some choice things to say about retreating to the country, as does Selco. Recently he’s posted a compilation of posts from people inside Ukraine. The day to day there has valuable truths for the prepper too.

    Someone recently linked to the pdf of the Special Forces Medical Handbook, which is 40 Mb. Ah, it was the guys at Hogwarts.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/2b4rgh3irny27t5/SOF_Medical_Handbook.pdf?dl=0

    You can just close the popup, the pdf is loading in the background. From the intro:

    The Handbook is written for SOF medical personnel performing the mission with the understanding that
    medicine is not a sacred subject practiced only by physicians, but rather skills and knowledge that can be
    learned and used to save lives. There is advice in this handbook that will be viewed as outrageous in traditional,
    conservative, hospital-based medical settings. Only someone struggling with life and death decisions in the
    difficult environment of a SOF medic can appreciate the need for this advice. In other contexts it could be
    viewed as inappropriate, possibly even bordering on malpractice.
    Be advised that the Handbook has limited
    application outside of the SOF context and is not intended for anything other than use by highly trained
    SOF medics.

    =================

  43. [second half]

    Spend some time poking around at Hogwarts too:

    http://griddownmed.com/

    They are focused on getting you ready for post SHTF world.

    The other link I have is to the official UK .gov Ship Captain’s medical guide. It’s 13 chapters and two annexes:

    “Overview

    This manual is written for laymen (non-doctors) working on board a ship. It contains a wide range of authoritative advice and will help you:

    assess and treat injuries
    diagnose and treat illness
    on journeys where you won’t have quick access to professional medical advice

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-ship-captains-medical-guide

    Free and official, aimed at 2 different audiences.

    For printed books, if you have kids or might be responsible for some post SHTF, I can recommend “Pediatric First Aid For Caregivers And Teachers” from the AAP. Available on amazon, despite having an emphasis on legal issues and checking boxes, it will help with the decision of ‘do we need to go to the ER’ and post SHTF should be useful up until the point where the algorithm gets to ‘call ems’. The advice and algorithms are VERY straightforward. I have referred to it several times.

    nick

  44. @RBT,

    You said upthread that you don’t recommend the “Where there is no xxxxx” books. They are a well regarded prepper staple, so I’m wondering, why not?

    I found parts of WTINDr to be clear and helpful when I referred to it…

    And while on the subject, there is a Wilderness Medicine book that is usually recommended (altho the exact title escapes me atm), and for kids the “What to expect when you’re expecting” series covers child development. I found the pacing of the “average” kid’s development to be a lot pessimistic, but maybe my kids really are above average. And if the described milestones really are on target for age, that kind of explains a lot about the world today.

    nick

  45. No kidding? Damn. I’ve had both of those books for years, like MrAtoz. Ordered the Ships Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea. How old “an older edition” of “Emergency War Surgery?” Oldest one on Amazon is 1992; should we look for it at yard sales and used book stores?

    Ship’s Medicine Chest provides instructions for emergency medical care on ships that have no MD aboard. I have several editions in print and in PDF. If I had to pick one, it’d be the 1975 (1977?) print edition. The information is a bit dated, but I think it’d be most useful for people like us. Later editions start to focus more on stuff like drugs that aren’t likely to be available to regular people, air-lifting patients out, treating substance-abuse issues, etc. I have several of those as well, including the most recent, but if I could have only one edition it’d be the one from the mid- to late-70’s.

    Emergency War Surgery is similar. Earlier editions were intended to teach non-MD medical personnel (nurses, dentists, vets, etc.) what they needed to know to perform surgery in an emergency. Later editions focus more and more on teaching non-specialist MDs how to do surgery and other procedures that are outside their specialties.

    Nick, as to the Where There is No series, look at the one-star reviews on Amazon. They sum up my objections pretty well. Any time you get to an important point, they advise you to get the patient to a doctor. Again, I have several editions of each of these, and they’re useful in some ways, but they wouldn’t be my primary choice, let alone my only choice.

  46. Reading only, I guess all comes from duck&cover memories, but, how do you plan to have energy?
    Remember you are going to 1830 situations, no roads, no gas, no cars, no trains, only walking and/or horses.

  47. “The older the house, the more likely you are to have difficulty fitting a modern door.”

    That’s about what I figured; we have slanting floors and doorways here. The house is 185 years old, and I don’t wanna risk making a mess of it.

  48. “…Remember you are going to 1830 situations, no roads, no gas, no cars, no trains, only walking and/or horses.”

    …and boats if one lives near waterways like canals, rivers, lakes and the ocean. Trains might be possible if machinery and tools and tracks can be rejiggered a little, also steam power again, esp. here in Nova Anglia.

    But if it goes back that far, we can certainly expect mass die-offs and the cities emptied and become slag-heap wastelands.

    We’ll also be back to manufacturing our own firearms, shot and powder.

  49. @RBT

    Thanks, that right there is a perfect example of an unexamined assumption.

    Having looked at it more thoroughly, I can’t say that I wouldn’t recommend it, particularly based on the 1 stars. Those reviewers are some angry people. Several of them sound like they are describing betrayal by a lover. It’s bizarre. One says there is nothing in it that your average American doesn’t know already, but simply flipping around and spot checking puts the lie to that. One starts and ends his review praising its utility, and admits to long and successful usage, but spends the middle attacking the PEOPLE who might use it. One objects mostly to the lack of photos and the simple nature of the line drawings. Several object to the politics of the authors. WRT that, I flipped thru over 400 pages and nothing jumped out at me until the ‘additional info’ section at the back. These 20 pages were the basis of most of the ideological complaints, and can easily be dismissed.

    Yes, it does tell you when you need higher support. Every medical book I’ve ever read does the same. I’m pretty sure even modern surgical textbooks suggest consulting someone who has done the procedure or observing beforehand.

    What it has that I couldn’t find elsewhere, is the section on antibiotics, their application, and dosages. The descriptions of disease symptoms are clear, with alternates listed in the same place. Yes, there is an emphasis on prevention, mostly thru hygiene and clean water. Nothing wrong with that, it should be a much bigger part of most peoples preps. Selco has pointed out several people who died during his conflict due to bad water, lack of hygiene, and infection.

    I don’t think it should be one’s only medical reference, and from a SHTF POV it needs to be supplemented with references to replace the “now you’re F’d if you can’t get to a real Doctor” parts. But I think it is a disservice to readers to dismiss it based on the reasons put forth in the 1 star reviews.

    I’ve added the PDR, in a recent edition (and the popularized versions often sold to seniors), so I can identify any drugs I come across, the Merck Diagnostic Manual, and others that are more advanced as reference material for the group. I get them in estate sales. It seems seniors always have a shelf full of popular medical books and occasionally I find a nurse or Dr.

    My feeling is that first aid, and a way to diagnose and treat the diseases caused by bad water and lack of hygiene, will cover most of the actual treatable issues post SHTF. Surgery is not really an option for most, and unless you have a HUGE supply of a range of antibiotics, you will likely exhaust your supplies on one case. Realizing the requirements of wound care caused me to dramatically increase my stored supplies. If my daughter is dying from appendicitis and we’re surrounded by mutant zombies, am I going to fire up the pressure cooker, sterilize the scissors and give it the ol’ college try? God, I hope it never comes to that. But better to die trying than not.

    nick

  50. This quote from the review voted most helpful pretty much says it all, IMHO.

    This is probably the most widely used medical reference book in the world – it has been translated into 80 languages. Its simple language, clear explanations and illustrations make essential medical knowledge accessible to anyone with basic literacy. The diagnostic charts are very straightforward and make it easy for a lay person to distinguish between diseases which can be easily confused. The treatments described are completely appropriate for village conditions. There is considerable emphasis on preventative health care and on health education. Anyone familiar with village life in underdeveloped countries will acknowledge that this book is an extraordinary achievement. For those who complain that it is not relevant to the United States: the book was written for “those who live far from medical centers, in places where there is doctor”. However there is plenty of information which *is relevant* to a North American audience, particularly the section on nutrition. Anyone backpacking or camping in the more remote regions of the US would benefit from taking this a long.

    nick

  51. I try very hard not to make any unconscious assumptions, and I don’t think I’ve made any unexamined assumptions here or in the book.

    I’m not saying that WTIND is a bad book. I just don’t think it’s the best choice for most people. I certainly have it in my bibliography, but it wouldn’t be my go-to book. I’m doing this book on the basis that my readers will be of average or higher intelligence but may know nothing at all about particular topics. The “best” book for a particular topic depends hugely on the existing skills (or lack thereof) of the person it’s for. And I have to keep in mind that a lot of people will go out and grab the first title I recommend, or perhaps the first two or three.

  52. RBT, I meant MY unexamined assumption. It is always on the prepper short list of medical books, so I bought it (I assumed it would meet my needs). I’ve used it a couple of times (identify a rash) and flipped thru. I found it to be useful, and pretty much exactly what was advertized.

    After your comment, I spent a few hours going thru it, and still feel the same way. THIS IS GOOD! You challenged and identified one of MY assumptions. Upon further examination, I am keeping my initial assumption (this is a good first pass book for me, and conditions I expect if things get really bad.) I’ve already got the UK mariner’s guide, but will check out the one you recommended. It makes a great deal of sense to me to use a guide developed for mariners since it will assume a higher knowledge/tech starting point, while still having limited experience and material available. It also explicitly acknowledges that higher medical may be available remotely, which I think is likely for all but the most widespread and serious sudden events. It’s always good to have redundancy and alternatives.

    Anyway, off to do some foraging.

    nick

  53. well, I went to ferfal, give me a break, please, if the dooms day is it, well………, your prepping is irrelevant. Nobody prepped here and we survived, and, uhm, well
    forgive my english, but, you cant follow his advice seriously

  54. @ayj,

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. What FerFal is best for is his observations on what actually happens in a city when your currency collapses. It is the older part of his blog, and his original book (not the Bug out book.) He has also recently collected posts from inside the current problems in Ukraine. Some of those actual observations from life in the conflict zone contradict some of the conventional prepper advice and are worth hearing.

    He turned the success of his original book into a general purpose prepping blog with product reviews, commentary, etc. That is less useful than when he relates his direct experience.

    Other than that it is worth noting that he acted on his own advice and moved out of Argentina and lives a prepping lifestyle full time. It is how he gets paid.

    Selco at shtfschool.com is also worth reading for his direct experiences in a city in wartime. He doesn’t give a lot of direct prepping advice, that is saved for his paying customers, but the stories he tells of the conflict have direct and useful information in them.

    I keep recommending these 2 guys because each has lived thru a scenario that is possible here, one a currency collapse, one a collapse into a city under siege, WROL. Both are thoughtful about their experiences. Both have lessons to be learned about the reality vs our theory.

    For an example, both discuss barter. Lots of preppers are planning to barter. The reality is different than they imagine. Selco talks about the relative value of things and how it changes over time. In particular, lighting and candles are very valuable early, as everyone tries to maintain their earlier life. Over time, they lost value, as people accepted the reality of the new life, and only lit one room at a time, and barely at that.

    Selco talks several times about medicine and hygiene and how a simple cut killed someone he knew thru infection. He talks about the security issues and what the demands of the conflict can do to people.

    FerFal (mostly in his book, but the book was compiled from blog posts) talks about the daily reality of living in the city as your money becomes worthless. The reality and the constraints on your behaviour are much different than many preppers think, or they haven’t considered.

    Anyway, I meant to convey that they are best read for their experiences, and maybe not for their advice.

    nick

  55. @AYJ

    “Reading only, I guess all comes from duck&cover memories, but, how do you plan to have energy?”

    In the short term, most are stockpiling fuel and a fuel powered generator. Many folks are adding limited solar and batteries for a longer term event or when the need is for quiet and stealth.

    Some people have wind power.

    If there is an event that takes us back to 1830s tech, it will mean using the power available at the time- muscle, wind, and water power, steam from burning organics, burning animal fats and vegetable oils, etc. Probably not petroleum products except scavenged, but certainly alcohol based fuels.

    If you mean electricity, solar will work with slowly decreasing efficiency for a long time. The batteries will wear out, but the panels should still work. Ditto for thermo electric generators. They are powered by a heat differential, and can be heated by burning fuels or concentrated solar. There are dozens of PV panels within easy walk of my house that would become available after an event of that magnitude.

    Electro-mechanical means of generating electricity are easy to build from scavenged parts and scrap. Knowing that it was possible was the key. Most cars have an alternator which can be driven in any number of ways to generate electricity. Same for electric motors. They are widely available. Heck, long after you run out of fuel for your generator’s motor, you can find a way to drive it mechanically. If you are a brutal warlord, you just chain your slaves to a pinwheel and drive your generator with that. If you are a clever johnny you build vats of acid and dissolve metals into them to generate electricity from chemicals.

    Even into the 1930s and 40’s rural American farmers got by fine with a wind generator and a battery. They didn’t have much that needed electricity. I expect it will be the same for us if it comes to that. Much of the history of civilization is the history of improved lighting. Lighting coupled with farming surpluses led to cities. With LEDs the power requirement for good lighting are greatly reduced. There should be LEDs around for a LONG time. If not, there are billions of small light bulbs that run off 12v in cars. A good portion of the current world doesn’t have reliable electricity, and uses batteries and single bulbs for light.

    So too sum up, there should be lots of ways to generate electricity long after the fall, either thru scavenging or rebuilding, or stockpiling. Or, stockpile the essential tools and materials to live well without electricity.

    nick

  56. Foraging report:

    Well, rain and the threat of rain put a damper (hah) on yard and garage sales this weekend. The estate sales I got to were ‘old lady sales’ all home decor and fluff, not much for preps.

    I did get a NIB colman propane lantern for $3. The glass is missing, and it needs mantles, but that is a quick, cheap fix. It is REALLY rare for me to come home with so little. Almost every weekend I can get medical supplies, camping stuff, lamp oil, useful chemicals, tools, or reference books (or stuff to sell on ebay to buy what I can’t find). I’m well stocked on most of that, but it is cheap to pile it higher and deeper.

    Oh well.

    Better luck next time.

    nick

  57. Nick
    I do not want to clutter, and, again, forgive my english
    Power
    Wind is equal to put a big pole stating, I’m here, solar needs batteries (but, I had stationary running 30 years time ago), for chemical you need distillation, is equal to gas, again I’m here.
    Maybe hydro (the little hydro gensets) or geothermal, the second is best, no moving parts, and it is true, the history of civilization is the history of illumination.
    But for everything I read here (cammeras, etc) you need power
    Maybe is this or do not have energy, maybe a wood gasifier and low tech generators (pre 50s) is another answer.
    Argentina
    I live here, so, I feel with right to say it, more, I lived in B.Aires on 2001 (moved B.A. on 2000) I lived on countryside, small cities, big cities, and, Ok, he earns his money with that, but….
    FTR I know the Midwest and the US coastal country, you know, those are different countries, but as I said I do not want to clutter, reading here I learn

  58. Hi AYJ,

    Can you give examples from your life how people in B.A. got thru the crisis?

    What would have made it easier? What made it hard?

    Who was affected badly the most? City, small town, countryside, suburbs?

    What was the biggest difference from before the crisis?

    You say you did not prep. Do you prep NOW based on your experiences then? Has your lifestyle changed?

    Do you have insights to share about day to day life and survival during the crisis?

    thanks,

    nick

    your english is fine, mas major de mi espanol…

  59. Uff
    when you look at BA you must think on something similar as Detroit+Ann Arbor+Dearborn, this is a big city
    The shanty villages (or slums or whatever) were equal in 1999 as in 2001, so, the riots were a kind of political things, the country was in bad shape, except Ann Arbor ( Or San Antonio) as example.
    Remember we have, or, better said, we had a 80% of people coming from Europe or sons of, so, prepping was a way of life (my grandfather stored milk, cocoa, flour and he rotate it) and since we had every 2 or 3 years some coup, well, run to the supermarket and buy oil, flour etc.
    But, neither 2001 neither before was shortage of gas, or things changed a lot for the classrooms of universities, the photos could be of 1980, 1990 (another crash, and worst, was the first) or 2001.
    Argentina is a very big country unpopulated, end to end is Chicago-San Diego (N-S) and 40% of population is on B.A.
    Your questions, and again forgive me Bob , I do not want to clutter

    Easier? nothing, when you arrives to that is because you did not solve the social issues, so, on emergency, food, but, as you know, we are on a kind of plains here, so, again, my grandfather planted everything (he was at a concentration camp in Spain, wrong side).
    We have a kind of US 60s justice here, this perhaps is the issue, when you are going to the police, your time inside the precinct is more than the time of the burglar inside the jail.
    Harder? Same, the one thing that saved us in 1990 and 2001 was, unbelievably, the organization of Peronism, who maybe is also the culprit, but, they stopped the things when they were in power. Its sound strange to you, as liberals (pardon me, libertarians) but think on Andrew Jackson and his cronies (this is not mine, is from an US friend) or Huey Long.
    Practical things?
    a) Gated communities are only fancy, the people at the gates are the same who lives on the next shanty town
    b) Countryside? if and only if there is shortage of gas, if not, you are at 1 h or 2 from gangs, now there is robbery on the estancias, or chacras, and the put double fence etc
    c) The better, small cities, no more than 3000/10000 people
    d) The better, your home must not be the best in the neighbourhood

    Insights? living here is completely different, you can’t buy legally arms, but, the thing Dr Bob is looking at, going away, is the better, but again, think in 1830 so, your reliance of outside world is set at a minimum

    Again forgive my english

  60. You have better English than many native speakers and writers of it here, rest assured.

    “…since we had every 2 or 3 years some coup…”

    That’s a good idea. We should have that here. We’re way overdue for one now. On the other hand, it could be like my dad said many decades ago; you could take away everyone’s wealth and power and in a few years the same bastards would have it back again. Maybe we’re doomed.

  61. My problem with prepper type books like The Perseid Collapse, is that the characters seem to have unlimited budget for buying prep supplies. Each character seems to have $50,000 or more in supplies, firearms, food, and energy supplies. Real People don’t have that kind of disposable income to devote to a possible disaster. Most of us have real lives and children to put through school, etc.

  62. @Harold Combs

    I agree, and that’s why I focus very tightly on low-cost options in my prepping book. You won’t find me, for example, recommending freeze-dried food or, worse, MREs because they’re both hideously expensive per unit nutrition. Or $50 (or even $25) flashlights instead of perfectly good $4 flashlights (which I’ve verified by pretty rigorous testing). Or $2,500 tricked-out tactical rifles or night-vision gear or thermal imaging equipment or solar power arrays. These things are daydreams for people who wish they had unlimited budgets. I’m much more practical.

  63. Then there’s the MacGyver-type scenarios in some of these fictional treatments; the protagonist/s suddenly, at the moment of greatest peril, discover ordinary chit lying around that they then transform into amazing gizmos that get them outta trouble. Pure genius on-tap at all times.

    As for the tricked-out tactical rifles, yeah, way too many derps out there attaching all kinds of rubbish to their rifles and looking like Space Rambo or sumthin but they have little to no grasp of actual tactical situations and most likely have zero mil-spec, or combat experience. I figger the lighter the better, esp. if you gotta hump that mutha across miles of urban slag heap desolation or freaking howling Siberian tundra up here in the wintuh. I’ve been looking at configs that stay under seven pounds.

  64. Barbara’s perfectly happy with her Ruger Mini-14 and I’m content with my HK and .308 Remington bolt action.

  65. Being more prepared doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. You can start by buying more of the pantry foods that you already use in everyday life. If you normally buy one box of pasta, why not buy two (or three or four if it’s on sale). Buying in bulk when it’s on sale when you already use that item will save you money in the long run.

    If spaghetti and tomato sauce last for a year and we have spaghetti one night every week, we can have 52 meals of spaghetti on hand with no extra long term cost. That alone would mean that we can miss a few weekly trips to the grocery store.

  66. @Harold Combs

    It’s not necessary to spend lots of money to prep, but nothing comes free. I find the old idea of a triangle with “good” “fast” and “cheap” on each point, and the saying that you can “pick any two” to be very helpful when I’m considering this.

    I generally pick good and cheap, which means it’s not fast. I spend a LOT of time searching for bargains (ie. good things available cheaply.) When I comment on the subject I go out of my way to list how inexpensively I’ve acquired something and where; probably to the annoyance of many, although I hope not. My intention is always to demonstrate that it is possible to prep without spending a lot. (The idea that prepping has to be expensive is very common, and is an unnecessary impediment to getting started.)

    At other times in my prepping journey, I didn’t feel I had the time, so I spent more money for the same (or equivalent) things. Sometimes in the prepper community this is called “panic buying” and the name is a bit pejorative, which is unfortunate. Many people have the money, but for one reason or another, don’t have the time (or don’t think they can TAKE the time). In my opinion, panic buying has its place and value. A panic buy can give you peace of mind. It can give you mental (and real) “breathing space.”

    An example is storage food. Let’s say some event causes a person to become aware that they probably should have some food put up in case of emergency. The potential event motivates them strongly enough that they feel like they need to meet a certain goal IMMEDIATELY. So they go online and order 30 days worth of freeze-dried meals for 4 people from a company that will put the whole package together and deliver it to you. That is going to be expensive, but quick. Once the food arrives, the person can breathe a sigh of relief, and begin taking the time to put together their NEXT goal, possibly by finding the local LDS cannery and buying bulk, or watching for seasonal sales from the storage food manufacturers, or simply by buying extras of the things they normally buy, as they shop normally.

    Another consideration, that our host has pointed out, is that in prepping as in all things, there is a continuum of quality and value. It is not necessary to buy the most expensive item in every category. If cheaper items are “good enough” then it is certainly better to have a “good enough” flashlight when the lights go out, than to be saving up toward a “great” flashlight and end up sitting in the dark 🙂

    Once your basics are covered with “good enough” you have some time to upgrade if you find that you want or need to. I started with a $35 BaoFang radio. After using it (and it is critical to USE your preps) I found that I liked ham radio, and I could justify the cost of a better, commercial grade radio. I also found a whole bunch of radio stuff at yard sales, estate sales, online, and at hamfests. Because I have the time to look in those places, and do minor repairs and refurb if needed, I was able to outfit myself pretty well at a substantial savings. I also saved a lot by accepting older gear, or solid gear without all the ‘bells and whistles’.

    One way to cheat the value triangle is to get good advice from someone who has put in the time and done the research, and shares you concern for maximizing value and utility, by, for example, buying a good book 🙂

    Don’t let the idea that it is expensive stop you from starting. It’s possible to save money on every step of the journey. And like any journey, it starts with that first step.

    nick

  67. Yep.

    I’m in the position of having more money than time, so I end up paying more than I have to. For example, we bought cases of white flour in #10 cans at the LDS Home Storage Center at something like $0.77/pound. I could have stored the same amount in 2-liter bottles for only the cost of the flour (~ $0.30/pound) and a $0.15 oxygen absorber per bottle, but I’ll do that only because I have to as research for the book. Same thing with using foil-laminate Mylar bags from the LDS online store. I’ll pack one or two each 50-pound bags of flour, sugar, etc. in 2L bottles and Mylar bags just to be able to speak from experience when I talk about doing that. But the next time we head over to the LDS HSC, I’ll probably pick up another couple hundred pounds of each item in #10 cans.

    I do treat those #10 cans as cost items, because they’re untouchable barring a real long-term emergency. But I don’t mind spending a couple grand on stuff that’s good for 30+ years and can sit there as insurance. Once we relocate, I’ll probably make at least one big purchase at the LDS HSC and then smaller ones every year or two.

    No, prepping doesn’t have to be expensive. A one person-year supply of iron rations at the LDS store can be had for as little as $1/day. You can double that (or much more) if you’re stocking up on canned stuff as meal extenders. My initial goal was to have a one-year supply of food for Barbara, Colin, and me, as well as four more family members, which basically comes to 6.5 person-years. That’s my basic comfort level. It’s arbitrary, but then all of this is.

  68. Incidentally, although you pay a premium at the LDS HSC for #10 cans of flour, sugar, etc., there are some items that incur little or no premium, such as macaroni and spaghetti at $1.00 to $1.25 per pound. It’s pointless to buy that stuff at Costco or Sam’s in cardboard boxes when you can get in #10 cans for little or no more.

    For any source but the LDS HSCs, you end up paying a huge premium on anything. I do have a small amount (~50 #10 cans) of various Augason Farms stuff like egg powder, butter powder, cheese powder etc. because they’re all great meal extenders and LDS HSCs don’t offer them.

    And I just realized that most people wouldn’t consider 50 #10 cans to be a “small amount”.

  69. Incidentally, speaking of spaghetti sauce, that’s something I’m working on with Barbara right now. She has extremely strong food preferences and her default response to any suggestion of trying something new is “ewwww!”. Or even something slightly different. For example, she happily munches on oatmeal squares but said the ideal of having oatmeal for breakfast was disgusting. I mentioned adding cinnamon or pancake syrup or whatever, and she was still disgusted. Geez.

    She made spaghetti the other night. She uses one pound of ground beef, a pound of spaghetti, and a 45-ounce jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce, which makes enough for two meals for the two of us. That’s a lot of spaghetti sauce, and sauces are important meal extenders for our long-term food stores. Because our long-term stores contain a lot of stuff like flour, rice, pasta, instant potatoes, and so on, I’m trying to convince her to try some alternatives, ideally ones that would be simple to make up from our long-term stores such as olive oil, garlic and onion powder/flakes, butter, cheese, milk, and egg powder, flour, various herbs and spices, etc.

    Her regular response is “I’ll eat that if I have to”, which is okay with me because I just keep storing up these things and she’s right. She will eat them if she has to, not least because she’ll be surprised at how good they actually are. So I’m not uncomfortable having only 20 or 30 jars of Ragu sauce on hand, because I have the components to make up many times more than that of other sauces. And Barbara’s sister is a truly good cook who regularly cooks from components anyway, so we’ll make do one way or another.

  70. Prepared sauces, even the premium brands, contain stuff that make them taste commercial. Corn syrup – in spaghetti sauce? Lots have MSG – what, to cover up inadequate spices? I like the tradition of making your own sauces (I’m spoiled, because my wife likes to do this). Make it just the way you like, in big batches, and freeze it. You can store the bulk ingredients (like the tomatos), because you can find those pure – i.e., without HFCS, MSG, or any other chemical additives.

    Granted, if no one in the household likes to cook, then that’s not a realistic option.

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