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Thursday, December 29, 2011

EMP Threat In The News

It is becoming more mainstream to talk about the EMP Threat. Recently on Fox News and on web based reporting, good explanations on how an Nuclear weapon or EMP attack over the central U.S. could potentially cause a blackout or infrastructure destruction to over half of the U.S.

EMP is of course an intense electro-magnetic pulse that will instantly destroy electrical circuits which is a by product of nuclear detonations but also several countries have been experimenting with EMP weapons designed specifically against the electrical infrastructure as opposed to physical destruction of everything.

For example a 1.4 megaton EMP bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most electronics in the U.S. See map below of anticipated effects radius or area. This of course will cause complete chaos and subsequent death from the total destruction of our electrical infrastructure as the entire U.S. economy is dependent upon this grid.

Actually, nobody knows the magnitude of infrastructure failure and destruction that an EMP attack would cause. All of the conjecture is based on modeling. Electrical grids going down for months - if not years; communications gone;

Reports by experts confirms that the U.S. is totally unprepared for an EMP attack and that Terrorists Groups and rogue nations like Iran are fully aware of what such an attack would do to the U.S.  Conservative estimates are that the U.S. would lose tens of millions of people in the first year and many more to follow
as the infrastructure that virtually powers every aspects of our lives would be down for years to come and in fact may never regain even parts of it's former capacity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Father Fears the Future

Received this from Anonymous: "I am 27 years old and recently married. We have a three year old daughter and a 4 month old daughter. I live in a duplex, in I guess you would call it the burbs, because I went to school with the owner and he gives me the best rent price possible. My wife is not working now because of the baby, before she was a temp secretary but had work about 60% of the time. I am a
school engineer (really a fix it all guy), plus I do home repairs for the guy I rent from for extra income. Now I need it the extra money more than ever. One of the men I work with taught me about the Survivor Movement with me some magazines to look at and talking about the economy. I am not into guns, recently I have been thinking about getting one and I find myself thinking about what happens if the power goes off and doesn't come back on."

UrbanMan replies: I am curious if you are from the Northeast where a power outage went on for quite a while for some folks. Hopefully, the people who were affected by this used the lessons learned to get better prepared for an alike event,.....or something much worse.

You are wise to start considering what can happen, to include providing for security and protection for your family. Just having a gun is not going to solve everything. If the power goes off and does not come back on, that will only be the beginnings of your problems. Lack of food and fuel, disruption of water utilities, reduced emergency services, a fast and substantial rise in angry, hungry people are can occur quickly if the catalyst for the event are severe enough.

There are four generally categories of Survival Preparation: Food; Water; Shelter; and, Security/Protection. Each with many facets of understanding and preparatory actions.

Consider food for instance. You could have months worth of frozen goods in a freezer, but when the power goes off, what are you going to do? Canned and boxed pantry goods will have an expiration date at some point. Dehydrated foods require water to hydrate. Ready to eat meals like Military MRE's are expensive. You final survival preparation solutions for food, will probably be a combination of all these food items.

One of the easiest things to do is to buy dry and canned pantry goods on sale or when you find good deals.  Put away several months of items and rotate them using the first in, first out principal. 

Security and Protection. I believe all law abiding Americans should own multiple guns. One gun cannot accomplish all your protection tasks as well as possible hunting applications. An individual prepping for survival against many different collapse scenarios would be best served by having several firearms (and ammunition) such as a handgun, shotgun and rifle.

There are other factors of security. Where you live; potential threat streams; refugee routes; defensibility of your home. Protection and security are usually best achieved in a teamwork approach. I say, "Survival is a Team Sport".

And of course, you cannot live without water. You will dehydrate and die without water long before you die of starvation. You simply must have a full time water source, best if not dependent upon power solutions to provide you the water. Some people have a water service where they, like stocking pantry items, buy 15 or 20 five gallon jugs as their stock then reduce the periodic delivery to what they use and use their existing stock again using the first in first out principal.   This is not the cheapest way to insure you have some water on hand when the lights go out or SHTF, but having some emergency food and water on hand gives you time to make a decision, stay or bug out.

Shelter is important as it provides protection from the elements and two legged threats. No matter how defensible or strong your survival location is, a Bug Out plan so you can rapidly vacate and move to another safe location are paramount. The Bug Out just doesn't consider where you are going, but how you are going to get there; but what you will take with you.

You can learn much and need to learn much in as quickest time period as you can. This site, as well as many other on-line sites reflect alot of planning tips, lessons learned, techniques, equipment ideas and much, much more. Make use of all these resources. Many of which we are linked to on the bottom right side of this page. Quickly develop a plan. Objectively review that plan continually. And prepare for some unfortunate things to happen to this country be it from an economic/dollar collapse or externally generated chaos. Educate yourself, prep well and good luck.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter Survival - Stranded in a Snow Storm

I recently had a question from Robert B., based on a story he read in the newspaper, about what would I do in a similar situation. Apparently two college kids traveling on a seldom used road became stuck in a snow storm. Robert’s questions were would I stay in my vehicle? How long would I stay waiting on help before I would trek out towards civilization? Would I take the shortest route or would I follow the roads? What if I didn’t have any survival gear with me in my vehicle?

My reply to Robert:

It would near impossible for me to be caught in any vehicle oriented situation without my traveling Bug Out Bag holding various pieces of kit depending where I am going; the season (hot or cold weather); whether I am flying or not; and what purpose I am traveling for.

But for the sake of argument let’s say we ventured out without any kit, without any knowledge of impending adverse weather, cell phone went dead or no signal, traveling a remote road with long distances between any infrastructure, and, became stuck in our vehicle in a snow storm.

Your first priority is not to become a cold injury. I would not sit in my car running the motor and heater as it will eventually run out of fuel. I would use it to get warm between bouts of survival work. I would build a shelter outside of the warm for two reason: one - to have a fire (for signaling and warmth) and, two – the vehicle becomes a refrigerator without the motor and heater running....two plys of sheet metal do not insulation make.

Shelter. Even in the desert location, there are natural materials to build an overhead cover or lean to type shelter. Maybe not enough to provide decent cover from a rain, but if you make it sturdy enough you can stop snow even if you have to clear the snow off from time to time (to reduce the weight and maintain the survival shelter’s integrity).

Vehicle seat covers, floor mats and trunk carpet can be used as a tarp for your overhead cover. All these materials as well as removable seat(s) can provide insulation from the ground as well.

I would build and maintain a fire. If you do not have lighter, the vehicle’s cigarette lighter (until the Government outlaws them) can be used to ignite tinder. One of the vehicle’s battery cables can be loosened and touch connected to the other cable to produce a spark to ignite tinder.

The vehicle’s fuel supply can be used to provide an accelerant. Stuffing a piece of string, root or vine down into the gas tank with a piece of cloth wrapped on the end can collect enough fuel to help start a fire. Maybe you can stuff some paper or cloth down into the carburetor or fuel injection system then pump the accelerator to collect the fuel onto the rag or paper.

Everyone has a owner’s manual or vehicle registration, or scrap paper,…or maybe even a pile of traffic citations or parking tickets in their glove compartment. This paper source combined with small twigs, scarps or torn pieces of clothing or insulation material from your coat provide the tinder. Most vehicles have a paper air filter. The paper filter can be used as a tinder sources as well.

Don’t start your fire until you have an adequate amount of tinder, bigger tinder, small pieces of fuel and even larger pieces are collected and ready to be added to your growing fire.

Water. Don’t pile the snow into your mouth to drink. Instead collect snow in a cup, water bottle or makeshift canteen and melt it by placing it close to the fire. If you have a used water bottle you can pack with snow and put in your coat pocket or under the vehicle’s heater when you run it, to melt. Hub caps and removable vehicle cup holders all can be used for improvised canteens.

Signaling. Keep the vehicle roof, trunk and hood clear of snow so that any aircraft can more easily spot it. You can take two, 2 or 3 inch diameter sticks and fashion an “X” on the roof. You can find an open area on the ground and create a larger “X”. If and when you decide to walk out, leave a note in the vehicle on the dash or steering wheel articulating your intent and direction.

If your vehicle ran off the road, making a signal on the road where passers by can see it is a good idea.

Decision to Walk Out. The decision to walk out has to be made considering your physical condition,.....what your condition will be in a day or two. How far you have to walk…if it is within your capabilities. I would probably walk the roads, as it is much easier and in case there is other traffic on the road – you can access help. If you have no land navigation skills and are in poor condition, there is no other route but staying on the roads. Other considerations are what gear you have on you in order to build shelters and fire if the trip will take more than one movement. A final factor is if anyone knows what route you took and will be missing you therefore reporting you as missing.

The bottom line is that winter survival, as described in the scenario, above can be made much easier if you carry wilderness survival kit in your vehicle. A simple bag in the trunk or cab containing a blanket or two, a couple small tarps, fire starting material, some long stay food, a couple of bottles or tins of water, a flashlight,…even better if you add candles and chemlights. These are all simple and inexpensive items to keep in your vehicle just in case.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Economic Collapse: Watch Out For QE3

QE3 is of course Quantitative Easing Round Three, where more fiat currency is printed further devaluing the current paper money in circulation and necessarily causing prices to inflate because the dollar is worth less. Once QE3 is announced or actually executed,.....expect the latter since the Government and the Fed have taken secrecy from the people to new heights,....precious metals will go up, particularly Gold.

In fact, when the major central banks launched a joint action to provide emergency U.S. dollar loans to banks in Europe, which put more money (not backed by anything but some politician's word) there became a rush to buy equities and commodities that would survive inflation and Gold rose $30 an ounce.

As 2011 ends, the four FED governors will be replaced and most analysts figure that the next four will be much more liberal in their monetary policies. QE3 will probably be snuck in, money created from air, without much publicity; and the present incredible low interest rates will climb as the dollar devalues. This will incite the $16.4 trillion Federal Debt to explode and the U.S. will be all probability start the slide to become like Greece. So the smart people are buying precious metals ahead of the very probable QE3.

It shouldn't end there for Survivalist. Everything will go up in price,... excepting your pay checks. The smart idea is to procure now what you can, because as the interest rates rise, the beginning of the dollar collapse begins. Scary times my friends. They will likely become much more scary in early 2012.

I am not advocating going into debt to purchase vehicles or property at the current low interest rates, although I know a couple people who are rationalizing that they would rather have new, reliable vehicles for a Bug Out
than to try and procure one when the interest rates are higher and the dollar buys less.  I'm not going to do that.  I'll continue on the same rate, maybe just step it up a notch, on procuring long stay food items and perhaps more Silver. 

2012 is going to be ugly.  Be prepared.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Copper: The Other Precious Metal?

Received an e-mail from Henry who wrote: "What do you think about savings pennies for their copper value. One of my friends told me that the one cent penny is now worth 5 cents as copper scrap metal."

UrbanMan reply: Henry, you wrote me over three weeks ago and to be frank I did not think I would reply, until I saw a recent article on the internet talking about potential legislation in Congress that may result in the abolishment of the penny as currency. Until then, and only then can pennies be legally melted down for their copper value.

But not all pennies are made of copper. Pennies made in 1982 or earlier have 95% copper. Pennies since then are made mostly from zinc. The current value of a copper penny is around 2 1/2 cents.

Copper has a lot of scrap value, otherwise you would not be seeing copper related thefts of copper wiring, construction sites, phone facilities, etc. As I write this copper scrap is valued at $3.57 per pound.

Going back to the value of a copper penny, 150% of it's face value, is substantial, however you would need a truck load of it to make any substantial money once or if the legislation is passed to abolish the penny. Plus it is just so heavy as to not be practical. I even know gents who have taken very substantial amounts of silver and converted it to Gold to reduce the weight to value ratio.

I think you would do okay just to save what you normally get in pocket change. I do this and routinely fill a jar which I take once a year to the bank to convert to dollars. My average yearly conversion is just shy of $200. A little mini- windfall which contributes to my survival stockage as ammunition, or helps buy a new gun or long stay food.

You could collect copper pennies, again 1982 or before, and sell on e-Bay as some people do. I would recommend however that you put your precious metal collection efforts into Silver and/or Gold. My efforts are concentrated mostly around the buying of silver coins for their silver melt value, one or two ounce silver rounds, or, five ounce bars.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Government Crackdown on Survivalists?

UrbanSurvivalSkills received several e-mails from readers alerting us to "government raids on private citizens who had been stocking food" because these people fit a profile for domestic terrorist activity. Apparently this story came from an Oath Keepers report on a federal raid on a Mormon (Latter Day Saints) facility in Tennessee and was later de-bunked by Glenn Beck and the Blaze and the
story recalled by Oath Keepers.

However, the roots from this story, and possible others like it, come from government "intelligence" reports about domestic terrorism with survivalists, "gun nuts" and returning "disillusioned war veterans" as potential "lone wolf" type domestic terrorists. One of the government documents that fuel the belief is a joint bulletin from the FBI and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) titled "Communities Against Terrorism" where the bulletin listed potential indicators of terrorist activities related to (purchases at) military surplus stores.

The joint bulletin lists suspicious activity and encourages store owners to call authorities if they have customers who meet any of these profiles:

What Should I Consider Suspicious? People or Groups who:

Provide ID that is inconsistent or suspect, or demand identify privacy.

Insist of paying with cash or use credit cards in different names.

Significantly alter appearance from visit to visit.

Have missing hands/fingers, chemical burns, strange odors or bright color stains on clothing.

Make racist or extreme religious statements coupled with comments that are violent or appear to condone violence.

Make suspicious comments regarding anti U.S radical theology, vague or cryptic warnings that appear to endorse the use of violence in support of a cause.

Demonstrate interest in uses that do not seem consistent with the intended use of the item being purchased.

Possess little knowledge of intended purchase items.

Make bulk purchases of items to include: Weatherproofed ammunition or match containers; Meals Ready to Eat; Night Vision Devices, night flashlights or gas masks; high capacity magazines; bi-pods or tripods for rifles.

See the Blaze story here, as well as a copy of Joint FBI-BJA Bulletin.

UrbanSurvivalSkills believes that if you are not doing anything illegal then you have little to fear from the government, except tanking the economy and running businesses out of business, but it stills pays to maintain OPSEC,....against misguided government instusion and criminal threats targeting you because you are a prepared survivalist.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Captivity, Escape, Evasion and Survival

Last week an American teenage boy kidnapped and held in captivity for five months, by Philipino militants associated with Abu Sayyaf and al-Qaida, escaped and evaded his way until he was provided aid by villagers. Kevin Lunsmann, 14 years old, had been taken captive with his mother and cousin while boating near Zamboanga City. His mother was released after two months and his cousin reportedly escaped captivity last month. Apparently after having gained some trust from his captors, Kevin escaped while supposedly bathing in a nearby stream.

Guerilla forces, operating in secret base camps, have to have a water source. Conducting patrols alongside running water sources such as streams and rivers to detect signs of Guerrilla activity, is a common Counter-Insurgency patrolling procedure and I wonder why de-briefings of the released mother and the escaped cousin did not lead Phillipino Army forces to the Guerrilla before.

Anyway,…… just some thoughts on captivity, escape, evasion and survival.

Captivity. The idea is to keep from becoming a captive. Having and utilizing knowledge of the Environment and Threats you will face in a particular area; possessing Situational Awareness; using counter-surveillance skills; and, not drawing attention to yourself are key to not becoming a captive. However, once a captive there are some things you need to consider/implement: do not be combative until you absolutely have reason to do so, as if you are uncooperative it may result in a beating and physical condition that is life threatening and certainly can greatly reduce any successful attempt at escape.

Intentionally use of the word “attempt” rather than “attempts” in the plural form. You have to figure that you have one,....repeat, one chance at escape. An unsuccessful escape attempt will most probably results in serious physical injuries or death. Instead, be compliant; lull your captors into thinking you are cowed; always plan your escape and execute at the best time and place; if your captors are giving proof of life for a ransom or other demands – be cognizant of what innocent things you can say on a video/audio recording that will help Friendlies find you. Find ways to leave clues of your presence around your detention area.

Escape. There are story and after story of captives who have found nails, pieces of wire and other things and have meticulously fashioned lock picks or other tools to help in an escape attempt. The prepared individual has tools hidden on and around his/her body and would not be found in a cursory search.

Evasion. Skills that are useful and indeed required for a successful evasion are:

* A plan. Once free where are you going to go, and avoid leaving sign of passage by sterilizing at least where you cross road, trails and other areas where sign of your passage is easily detected.

* Use terrain to your advantage. Always analysis the terrain for cover and concealment. Reduce any shiny spots on the exposed parts of your skin and anything you may be carrying. Mud, burnt wood and foliage can be used to help camouflage yourself. Use resting spots that provide cover and concealment and allow for observation of likely routes your pursuers will be on.

Survival. Skills that are useful/required for surviving while evading.

* Able to tell direction of travel using the Sun and the stars.

* Be able to read terrain and use terrain association. Valuable for finding the best routes, whether you are trying for a difficult route for pursuers or trying to find easy of movement. Also useful to detect best places to find water sources.

* Be able to use field expedient methods to procure and filter water.

* Be knowledgeable of poisonous and edible plants in the area. However, great the hunger is, water is more important. Given a decent physical condition when beginning evasion, you can go several days without food. Be considerate of what stomach upset natural plants can cause. Crapping your pants all day long does not lend itself to successful evasion and provides sign for pursuers to track….plus it will severely dehydrate you.

* Know how to construct survival shelters. Be considerate of the detect-ability of your shelter.

* The ability to set traps and snares may come in handy as may constructing survival hunting tools and weapons.

* The skill set to built fires is necessary for survival, however the escaped captive will probably not have fire making tools.  Knowing how to build a fire without a torch and how to keep that fire as covert as possible by using masking terrain and vegetation, burning only dry wood may save your life.     

The greatest survival aid is your mind and the best way to employ that is to be prepared for all threats. Preparation, both knowledge, training and equipment is what is going to keep you alive.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Foods that will be Gone When SHTF

UrbanSurvivalSkills received a comment from Horsyguy: "There is a new advertisement about 37 foods that will sell out when SHTF, but they don't list them or give them and want you to buy books? I think the site was ? Does anyone know what they are or have read the books? Are they legit books worth reading? thanks."

Horsyguy, I have seen many different lists of the foods that are supposed to run out or be first off the shelves and unavailable during a dynamic collapse of when SHTF is apparent. Safe to say all foods will be gone. The advertisement may be 37 foods that will go first, but after two days o not eating, I think a can of Lima Beans, expired for three years would look good.

Here is an example of 37 items that will go quick, taking the obvious Food items, bottled water, guns, ammunition and fuel for vehicles off the table:

1. Water Filters/Purifiers/Pumps.
2. Generators (even though the fuel will run out - people will buy them.
3. Firewood, depending upon the time of year.
4. Candles,
5. Flashlights and Batteries,
6. Dog Food,
7. Butane Lighters and matches
8. Coleman/camping fuel to include propane and butane bottles.
9. Water containers (get more than one and in different sizes)
10. Propane Heaters and all accessories that go with it (extra propane, heads, etc)
11. Some clothing items, starting with coats, gloves, socks and footwear
12. Hand Tools
13. Lumber
14. Aluminum Foil
15. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
16. Gasoline containers
17. Toilet paper, paper towels, hygiene items
18. Work gloves, Work boots, Work Clothes
19. Seeds (non-hybrid or hybrid - some people don't know the difference)
20. First Aid Kits and all medical materials
21. Large and small Plastic Containers
22. Canning mateials, jars and lids
23. Camping/Cast iron cookware
24. Duct Tape
25. Garbage cans (metal and plastic)
26. Rope and twine
27. Laundry Detergent (dry and liquid)
28. Backpacks
29. Garden tools & supplies
30. Bleach
31. Knives, axes, sharpening stones
32. Bicycles and spare parts/tires
33. Camping material such as Sleeping Bags
34. Books on Survival, gardening, raising animals, etc.
35. Hardware such as nails, screws, bolts, etc.
36. Cigarettes
37. Wine/Beer/Liquor

Let me know if I forgot something.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More from Lt Col Dave Grossman

If you have not heard of Lt Col Dave Grossman, then you should learn the name and research his writings. He is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, and speaker who is one of the world's foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime.

One of Grossman's writings, titled "On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" and includes insight such as: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell.

Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. But they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

Then there are the wolves, and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs, and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.

Any collapse, gradual or dynamic, will cause and allow the wolves of society to operate more openly. We have to be prepared to operate in a much more dangerous environment. The time to prepare is now when we have relatively better resources and a safer environment.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has presented a seminar titled "Bullet Proof Mind". Talking about topics ranging from school shootings to psychological response to a violent encounter… but one of the most critical things Grossman stresses is the importance of having a sense of urgency.

The Bullet Proof Mind is not available as a 5 disc DVD set covering such topics as:

* The truth about the explosion of violence in America (Think things are getting better? Think again…)
* What it takes to be a warrior capable of stopping multiple attackers and mass murdering lunatics
* The hidden truth about lethal combat…
* How the body responds to a violent attack, and what you can do now to ensure your body responds the right way
* How to prepare your spouse for an attack
* The New Killer of the 21st Century, and why most people aren’t willing to talk about it
* Important drills that Nobody practices that would save countless lives
* Who is Teaching Our Kids To Kill? Find out now so YOU can put a stop to it

To watch a short video on Lt Col Grossman and look over the Bullet Proof Mind DVD offer, go to this site.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

$1000 to Spend on Survival Firearms

Wally wrote UrbanSurvivalSkills with the following question: "If I had a $1000 and no more to buy a gun for survival what would you recommend?"

UrbanMan's reply: Wally, I would have to make some assumptions in answering question. I am assuming that you have no firearms of any type right now, and after spending your $1000, you would not, in the future, be buying any additional firearms. I limited my search to firearms advertised in the local, but national franchised, sporting goods store which give pretty good prices and this is how I came up with spending your $1000:

Handgun. Taurus, 9x19mm semi-automatic. $299

Shotgun. Stevens, 12 gauge pump riot shotgun. $199

Rifle. Marlin Model 336, .30-30 Winchester, lever action rifle. $379

total spent of Firearms, $873, leaving $123 left.

Then I would use the rest of the $1000 to buy the following:

Ammunition. One box (50 rds) of 9x19 $10.99; two boxes (40 rds) of .30-30 $26.98; one box (25 rds) of 12 gauge bird shot $14.99; and, four boxes (20 rds) of 12 gauge 00 buckshot $19.96

Cleaning Kit. One rifle-pistol combo cleaning kit $6.99, and one shotgun claning kit $6.99 for a total of $13.98 spent of cleaning kits.

Binoculars. Bushnell Compact 8 x 21 Binoculars $12.99

Knife. CRKT M16 tactical folder $16.99 (great price on this knife by the way).

By my math you would have about $6 left over.

If money is a difficult issue for you, each week, I would put away what I could each pay period or month that goes by,........a few bucks here and there to spend adding to my ammunition stockage and buying survival food across the spectrum of long storage term food, dehydrated foods and pantry items.

Another way to go in the Survival Firearms decision is to buy an AR for around $850 and put the rest of the money into ammunition and magazines.

I chose the three guns, ammunition and accessories that I did because a Survival Firearms battery needs to fulfill many requirements across the spectrum of of possible collapse of SHTF scenarios. Personal protection being the main requirement. Ask yourself this question: Is the three person survival team better off with only one gun - that being one of the members equipped with an M-4 or AR platform?.......or would they be better off with each of the survival team members being armed with the three firearms I choose? Really doesn't matter what I think or say. The solution is what works best for you. Good preps my friend.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unique and Efficient Stove - The Russian Wood Stove

A friend of mine sent me this article, photo and video. He explained that while he granted this is an old video, but it does a good job with basic explanation of the technology. I have never seen a design like this before, but I'm sold 100% on it for if/when we build a house someday. There is a North America association with a list of builders around the country, and designs have been updated since this video
was produced.

There are other wood burning stove designs at this site.

Another site would be Russian Wood Stoves

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Survival Shops Report Big Sales For Possible Collapse

From a local Television station in Missouri comes a report about a Survival Food and Gear store saying a huge jump in sales reflects that many people are getting prepared for the “possible collapse” of society. The stores are selling expensive MRE's at 50 cases a month. Reports that people come in as a family and build Bug Out bags on the spot.

Others are stocking up on freeze-dried meals and other supplies to stash at a remote location away from the city where they would go in an emergency. Other people have said they have property which they have set up different things to protect themselves like towers they can stand up and watch.”

One of the store owners said that business has been brisk since the spring, when uprisings in the middle east, the U.S. Federal deficit and lack of government movements to fix it bringing on a deep concern for the future of the U.S. He says " People are just plain scared. They don’t know where this country is going".

From the on-line version of this news report, many diverse comments are made and
UrbanMan is going to take the liberty of commenting on some of them:

"If you haven’t stocked up by now, pray."

UrbanMan say's: It's never too late to start. I think that if you polled all the preppers in the country, most of them would say they are not finished prepping or at a point where they would want to be preparation wise if the STHF.

"I’m stocking up on GUNS and AMMO, the currency of the future. With those things, I can have all the food I can eat when I take it from the liberal pacifists. I’m making a list of all the turds in my area with Obama bumper stickers or yard signs."

UrbanMan say's: Really. A lot of "if's" in this premise. If the "liberal pacifists" have food for you to steal. What "if" they don't have any food? What if the older gent who drives a BMW, who you think as a Liberal, is really a Vet,....much better trained than you,...and in fact knows your cowardly
kind and is just waiting for you to give him a reason to kill you? And you know what's funny? I don't like Obama either.

"Make sure you have plenty of Ammo and several rifles and hand guns. You can always take the food from the others who are storing it. OR Ammo will be a trade item.. Your call if the doo doo hits the fan."

UrbanMan say's: Here it is again,....taking food from others. You may evne be able to do it, if they are unprepared. Are you prepared? Have you been tested with your life on the line? Take you stealing mind set back to the couch and re-read your "Soldier of Fortune" magazines.

"People streaming out of the city when TSHTF, remember Katrina. Most city dwells won’t be able to get out. Many are to dependent on the government for any type of help and wouldn’t be able to find a road out of the city. Also after a while with people panicking I’d imagine alot of pileups on the highways. Without police to direct traffic or city workers to move the wrecked cars alot of people will be walking out of the cities. Without the massive and daily trucks of food the keep grocery stores stocked people leaving the cities aren’t going to find alot to eat, unless they learn to catch animals by hand."

UrbanMan say's: You have a good point based on the Katrina scenario. But do you really think people,....hungry refugees....can't travel 10, 20 or 30 miles in search of food? What kept a lot of Katrina victims in the city were: obstacles such as large bodies of fast moving water and blocked bridges; a fairly rapid state and federal response; the idea that it would never get so bad. I have said many times, be sure to look atthe natural routes for refugees when you are planning.

"Pshaw. For this type of collapse you need a good financial plan or adviser to protect your savings from government trying to inflate their way out of debt. Society is not going to collapse, in the US; no telling what will happen in the EU. Europeans get barbaric fast – think Bosnia."

UrbanMan say's: You will be one of the people railing at the banks at forced bank holidays, calling your broker (if the phones work),'s a tip, he won't pickup as he will be loading his SUV with food, guns, gear, gold and silver and heading to his bug out location. If you really think the way you wrote, then you are a chump,......but not everyone is planning adequately for a economic or societal collapse so I guess you'll be one of the first victims. To use some social media code: LMAO at you.

"Things certainly appear to me to be headed for big trouble for us average people. I doubt that a complete collapse of society and riots everywhere will happen, but we need to be prepared for some of this if the food supply gets interrupted. I think the most likely scenario coming toward us is that energy and fuel prices will spike so high that the truckers will refuse to drive and therefore no food or other goods will go to stores. How long do you think it will take the shelves at Safeway to empty out? So, somewhere between everything collapsing and everything is roses, we need to prepare. Why not just buy extra canned goods, pasta, rice, nuts, etc. and store them in your house? Put them in expiration date groups and eat the oldest ones first. So, instead of eating what you bring home from the store, you store it and eat what you previously stored. Using this method I have now about 3 months of food in a pantry. It’s sort of a hobby, picking food at the store and arranging and storing it. Anyway, if you don’t get ready for at least a temporary interruption, then you are very foolish."

UrbanMan say's: I don't think the truckers will refuse to drive, unless it gets too dangerous. I just think they won't be able to afford to drive or find fuel for their trucks. You are certainly right at least being ready for a temporary interruption.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Bad Guys Are Us

Starting to come out two days ago, then more fully yesterday and today, are details of the Senate Defense Bill for Fiscal Year 2012 that has a provision, Section 1031, which allows for the designation of the homeland (meaning the 50 states) as a part of the War on Terror or as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put it: "The homeland is part of the battlefield and people can be held without trial whether (they are) American Citizens or not." Notable supporters include Senator's John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI).

On the surface it seems like a logical means and set of tools for Federal Law Enforcement to combat domestic and imported terrorism. Until you get to these four facts:

1 - The Senate Defense Bill was developed in secrecy contrary to law.What is the Senate worried about? That the People would see what the bill was shaping up to be and be outraged as they should be?
2 - The bill allows for the use of the Armed Forces in domestic law enforcement and anti-terrorism operations.
3- That domestic Terrorist suspects include,.....people who disagree with the Government; people who may be missing fingers; people who collect or store guns and ammunition especially multiple guns and waterproof ammunition,...and people who have 7 days or more of food stocked.
4 - Finally, some wisdom from one of our great Founders, Benjamin Franklin,.."Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.

I don't know who else besides Rand Paul (R-KY) is on our side and the side of tens of millions of Americans, but what I do know is if this bill is passed the game changes. Primarily focused on conditions and threats outside of our control,.e.g..economic collapse, dollar break, external terrorist attack by Weapon of Mass Destruction or EMP attack,.....or even natural disasters have now been superseded by the very real threat of a totalitarian government, least we have a counter-measure that that is redress of grievances through petition (phone call and e-mails) or through the ballot box. Holy Jesus, this scares the shit out of me!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Mayan End of the World Prediction in the News Again

Headline: Mexico acknowledges 2nd Mayan reference to 2012. UrbanMan still gets an occasional e-mail or comment from readers who are transfixed on the possibility not from man made collapse but from pre-destined collapse as interpreted by the Mayan Calendar and other dooms day predictors. I subscribe to the theory of self determination, be it good or bad. If we didn't have free will and everything was pre-determined, then what the hell are doing?

Anyway, an article by Mark Stevenson of the Associated Press details another Mexican archaeology find backing up the Mayan Calendar prediction that the apocalypse would occur in 2012.

While Mexico's archaeology institute downplays these theories that the ancient Mayas predicted the apocalypse in 2012, they did acknowledge that a second reference to the date exists on a carved fragment recently found at a southern Mexico ruin site.

The "Comalcalco Brick," as the second fragment is known, has been discussed by experts in some online forums. Many still doubt that it is a definite reference to Dec. 21, 2012 or Dec. 23, 2012, the dates cited by proponents of the theory as the possible end of the world. Given the strength of Internet rumors about impending disaster in 2012, the institute is organizing a special round table of 60 Mayan experts next week at the archaeological site of Palenque, in southern Mexico, to "dispel some of the doubts about the end of one era and the beginning of another, in the Mayan Long Count calendar."

No matter what your beliefs are,....Mayan predicted end of the World; Socio-Economic Collapse; Foreign attack induced collapse, still pays to be prepared in some form or function,...again: planning, security, food and shelter all need to be considered to have a reasonable chance of survival during hard times, be it from the dollar collapse, a Mayan Boogeyman or from fire breathing dragons.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bad Advice on Buying Silver?

Tina wrote to UrbanSurvivalSkills and asked: " Several of my friends and I get together to can vegetables, and we take turns going to flea markets to sell items we no longer want or can do without. This has brought about a on-going conversation about the dollar collapse (not all my friends believe) and what it would be like to have a barter only community. I brought up the fact that I have been buying some Silver coins. Two of my girl friends almost seemed offended saying that: if we have a Germany type of dollar collapse, money and gold and silver will be useless and only bartering items and growing your own food for trade would be the right. How can I make them see that having some Silver and possibly Gold is a good idea, along with food?"

UrbanMan's reply: If your friends agree with having physical skills and material to enter into a collapse and survive through barter then they have taken the first step to Surviving SHTF, however you won't be able to talk anyone into anything. It just may be too uncomfortable for them to think about it or accept the possibilities of an impending collapse and the chaos it brings. It will come back to haunt you if you do try and talk them into anything. They need to reach the belief in preparation on their own accord based on the merits of the facts.

Second of all, if one or two of your "friends" think that buying Gold or Silver is foolish, then their attitude probably stems from the "Being Left Behind" syndrome. This is where they are mad that they did not have the same foresight to procure Silver and Gold, be it Bullion or coins for Silver melt value, and don't want you to be ahead of them. This is also the so called "Crabs in a Bucket" phenomenon. If you put crabs in a bucket, when one finds a way to climb up and escape, the others will actually pull him back down into the's like "how dare you" get ahead of us.

In fact, you ought to search for "Crabs in a Bucket" on you tube.

It is great that you and your friends can produce barterable goods, go to flea markets to work in the barter society or otherwise find that what you can make has value for others. There are many other categories for preparing for a economic collapse,.... .......planning, security and the stocking of appropriate durable and on-durable items and material to make survival not only possible, but possible with some decent standard of living. After all, that's the goal.

If you continue dripping information to them about buying Gold and Silver your "friends" will undoubtedly turn to the "Gold and Silver are poor investments argument". Your counter is that you are buying Gold and Silver as a commerce contingency in the period of time when the dollar deflates in value and before a true straight barter society will commence.

I truly think that during and after the period when the dollar becomes worthless, Silver and Gold will be of value and will end up being the new basis for a new currency standard. Tell your friends that if they think Silver and Gold are not important then that's fine,....don't buy any. And I'll just bet one silver round to a can of your vegetables that your friends will experience "fear of being left behind" and start some type of Silver procurement, even if it's just a couple of one ounce Silver rounds a month.

Good luck and prepare well, Tina.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Look at the Coming Dollar Collapse

Excellent and easily readable article by Greg Hunter’s of USAWatchdog.
Defining conditions in Europe and how the collapse of the dollar and therefore rise of Gold will occur.

At the beginning of this month, the G20 met in France to try to find a way to solve the European sovereign debt crisis. It ended with world leaders in disarray over a way to come up with a solution. At first blush, it appears that nothing of any importance came of the meeting of the 20 leading economies of the world, but that is not the case. It was widely reported the G20 came up with the idea that Germany might put up its gold reserves to back a bailout fund called the European Financial Stability Facility or EFSF. Of course, Germany , with its more than 3,400 tonnes of gold (number 2 in the world), quickly shot that idea down. End of story? Quite the contrary–the gold story is just beginning to get interesting.

You see, the G20 did something accidentally that was very important, and that was confirm that gold has a place in the monetary system, especially in times of extreme turmoil. Why doesn’t the EU use sovereign bonds to back the EFSF? They are considered a store of value and are held as reserves in many European banks. The simple answer is the world is waking up to the fact that debt can’t back up debt. Europe finds itself in a tough spot, and the leaders there know it. Reuters reported Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “Europe is in one of its toughest, perhaps the toughest hour since World War Two,” she told her Christian Democrats, saying she feared Europe would fail if the euro failed and vowing to do anything to stop this from happening.” Well, anything but put Germany ’s gold up as collateral. Maybe Chancellor Merkel will be the next leader to exit the European stage? Who knows, but what I do know is that gold is once again going to become an important part of the world monetary system.

UrbanMan's comment: By the virtue of Gold increasing in value, so will Silver. Currently the ratio of Gold and Silver, $1,800 and $34 an ounce respectively, is at an approx ratio of 1:53. That ratio is expected to decrease as the historic Gold to Silver ratio is much narrow than that, so the correction will bring the value of Silver much higher as well.

In a new book called “Currency Wars,” Wall Street insider Jim Rickards examines how countries try to get out of financial trouble by devaluing their currencies. Rickards says, “Today, as yesterday, countries are attempting to devalue their way out of trouble. Following the strategy of beggar-thy- neighbor, the U.S. , Europe, China and Japan all want to weaken their currencies. The flaw in the tactic should be clear. “Not everyone could cheapen at once,” Rickards writes. “The circle still could not be squared.” Rickards predicts the U.S. dollar’s future is not bright, and if there were a “catastrophic collapse of investor confidence,” the dollar’s buying power could suffer suddenly and dramatically in a global sell off.

Gold would be the big beneficiary if the dollar declined, and Rickards’ top price for gold per ounce is–wait for it–$44,552! That price is the absolute highest possibility. Rickards and others predict that in the next few years, America will go back on some sort of gold standard. Meaning, the dollar will be backed by gold, but Rickards has stated on many occasions that there probably will not be a100% gold backed U.S. dollar. Instead, Rickards contends it will be more in the neighborhood of 40%. If that is the case, then gold would be $17,821 per ounce using Rickards numbers. It appears gold prices are going much higher.

UrbanMan's comment: Again, silver will increase as well and by virtue of it's lower cost to procure, it remains not only the poorer man's precious metal for SHTF, but an easier bought one as well.

The main factor in determining gold price is money printing, and one of the biggest currency creators on the planet is the Federal Reserve. It created enormous amounts of money in the wake of the 2008 meltdown, and it looks like it is getting ready to unleash mountains of even more cash to stop the impending Euro-land meltdown. This week, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard indicated the central bank would take action if the EU sovereign debt crisis turns chaotic. According to a Wall Street Journal report, “Bullard said that if overseas events worsened significantly, the Fed could respond, saying “the Fed can re-open some of the liquidity facilities that were used during 2008-2009″ to reduce related market disruptions. “It will be fairly clear if some sort of crisis occurs in financial market that causes trust to break down,” it would then be time for the Fed to take action to alleviate the market tumult, he said.” It looks to me the Fed will be forced to print money to stop another financial meltdown. It is only a matter of time, and time appears short.

UrbanMan's comment: Something we hope never happens but refuse to let hope override good common sense in prepping. When the currency printing press start working over time the price of goods goes up because the dollar becomes devalued. Your pay checks will remain the same.....buying less and less until the one million a year that goes into poverty, becomes 15 million or more. Anarchy will reign when the true poverty level, currently at around 45 million hits 1/3 of the population or around 100 million.

Renowned economist Martin Armstrong says, “What this is really about is it’s the entire Western civilization that’s starting to crumble.” In an interview Monday on King World News, Armstrong warned, “Everything is falling apart and the politicians will not address it because it means having to change the system and that’s what they do not want to do. The real big money that I speak to, they are really starting to look beyond Italy , Greece , Spain and Portugal . They are starting to look at France and Germany .” Armstrong goes on to say, “They have borrowed year after year with no intention of paying it back. The US had $1 trillion of debt when Ronald Reagan took office in 1980. We are now pressing $15 trillion of debt.” The debt crisis throughout the Western world will push the price of the yellow metal (Gold) higher even though it is currently range bound. Armstrong says, “Basically what you are doing is you are building a sideways type of base. Eventually gold is going to take off to the upside, but largely when people begin to see the Emperor has no clothes and we’re getting close to that. I would only give it a few more months.”

When the next financial calamity hits, the Fed and other central banks will have two choices. They can print money to try and save the system they love, or let it implode. That means this is really all about gold now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mosin Nagent or British Enfield?

Nick wrote and asked UrbanSurvivalSkills which would be a better rifle, the Russian Mosin-Nagent or the British Enfield: "Hey I like your web site, especially the discussions on low cost preps and some of what some people do with about nothing. I am going to pickup a second rifle. My first is a M1 Garand in .30-06 and I have been looking at either a Russian 7.62 bolt action rifle or a British Enfield each I can get for less than $250. What do you think?"

UrbanMan's comment: With the price of the British Enfield at $250, I assume that it is a British Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) in the .303 British cartridge, and the Russian rifle is a Mosin-Nagent in 7.62x54R mm. Both are good rifles. If the Enfield you are talking about is an 1917 Enfield - then the discussion stops right here - buy that gun assuming it is in shootable condition. But lets go back to my first assumption that the Enfield is a Short Magazine Lee Enfield, thoughts on deciding between the two,....

Do you have enough ammunition stocked for the M1 Garand? Do you have a 12 gauge shotgun, with a decent magazine capacity and enough shot shells stocked for this gun? Both would be considerations for me before I bought a surplus military rifle.

The relative effectiveness of each cartridge - the .303 versus the 7.62x54R mm Russian are similar given the same bullet weight. If I am not mistaken, the .303 British has a very slight edge in muzzle velocity, too little to be a concern of mine. Both are accurate on large animal or man targets, certainly at 100 yards.

The advantages of the Lee-Enfield is a detachable 10 round box magazine, which presumably you could procure several more for a basic load. The disadvantages of the SMLE is that some were made in Canada (called Long Branches if I am again not mistaken) with only two grooves and were not very accurate at distances greater than 100 yards. Well, now I have to admit that thirty years ago, when I was in my twenties and buying guns left and right, I owned a SMLE of Long Branch manufacture and it was inaccurate. Maybe another disadvantage is the ammunition availability .....probably not nearly as available and more costly than the Russian 7.62x54R mm.

You can find 76.2x54R mm at multiple surplus and commercial sources, and at reasonable prices - stick to the non-corrosive primered stuff. The ammunition availability fact would drive me to choose the Mosin-Nagant over the SMLE. However, there are some SMLE re-barreled to 7.62 x 51mm Nato and if I found one of those in good condition it would be my choice over the Mosin-Nagent. Hope this helps you out. Prepare well and stay safe.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

FBI Says Gangs Infiltrating the US Military

FBI Says Gangs Infiltrating the US Military, from a 27 October report available on

The U.S. military is facing a "significant criminal threat" from gangs, including prison and biker gangs, whose members have found their way into the ranks, according to an FBI-led investigation.

UrbanMan's comments: Great! Not only is the gangs population growing across the U.S., now we have to be concerned with additional and more modern weaponry and training for these already organized criminal groups. As if the gang lack of respect for life and law isn't enough.

Some gang members get into the military to escape the streets, but then end up reconnecting once in, while others target the services specifically for the combat and weapons training, the National Gang Intelligence Center says in a just-released 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment/Emerging Trends.

Whatever the reasons, it's a bad mix. Gang members with military training pose a unique threat to law enforcement personnel because of their distinctive weapons and combat training skills and their ability to transfer these skills to fellow gang members," the report states. Gang members have been reported in every branch of the armed forces, though a large proportion of them have been affiliated with the Army, the Army Reserves or Army National Guard, it says.

The gang report is the third by the NGIC since 2005 and includes the most information yet on gangs in the military. The 2005 report made no mention of gang members in the armed forces, while the 2009 report devoted two paragraphs to the problem and listed 19 gangs said to include military-trained members. The NGIC is a multi-agency operation -- federal, state and local – headed up by the FBI to bring together intelligence on gangs and gang activity. The latest report devotes four pages to the problem and lists about 50 gangs with members with military backgrounds. In the past three years, it states, law enforcement officials in more than 100 jurisdictions have encountered, detained or arrested a gang member who was on active-duty or a former service member.

Younger gang members, who do not have arrest records, are reportedly making attempts to join the military, and also attempting to conceal any gang affiliation, including tattoos, during the recruitment process. And given the large U.S. military footprint overseas, gangs and gang dependents have found their way onto bases from Japan to Germany and Afghanistan and Iraq , where the center recorded instances of gang graffiti on military vehicles. The report also specifically relates the 2010 cases of three former Marines arrested in Los Angeles for selling illegal assault weapons to the Florencia 13 gang, and a U.S. Navy SEAL charged in Colorado with smuggling military-issued machine guns and other weapons from Iraq and Afghanistan into the U.S.

"Gang members armed with high-powered weapons and knowledge and expertise acquired from employment in law enforcement, corrections or the military may pose an increasing nationwide threat, as they employ these tactics and weapons against law enforcem4nt officials, rival gang members and civilians," the NGIC report says.

The NGIC assessment is not the first to look at the rising problems of gang members in the military.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Division has done a number of them over the years. It found the number of investigations of gang-related violent crimes rising to 9 in 2005, after several years of decline, with just 3 the year before. Most Soldiers found linked to gangs are junior enlisted members, CID found. "Overall, military communities continue to be a more stable, secure and lawful environment than their civilian counterparts, especially given recent access control and other
security enhancements," Army CID concluded.

UrbanMan's comment: Rawles' new book, "Survivors" has a story line about existing urban based criminal gangs accessing military grade weapons and equipment, which should make everyone think about the potential.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Food versus Vitamins?

Anonymous (who we are going to give the name "Mack" for the purposes of this post) left a comment on the post Wood Stoves and Preps, ......"25 lbs of rice at Costco = $15. A 5 gal bucket and lid from Walmart = $4. For $19 you get 25 lbs of stored rice which equals 67 cups of uncooked rice. One cup of uncooked rice when cooked equals two cups of cooked rice, enough for a meal for two people. There are 268 meals in 25 lbs of rice. Of course the meal would be improved with some meat and veggies but do not underestimate the value of a cup of cooked rice to a hungry person. For $100 you could have 5 five gallon buckets of rice, 1340 meals!!"

UrbanMan's comment:  Great.  Thanks for the lesson in rice per pound per meal.  I am going to re-visit my bulk rice and see what I come up with.     

Then Chris replied leaving this comment about rice,....."Rice is great to fill your belly, but it's low in calories, and has almost none of the vitamins and minerals you need to keep healthy. Even supplementing with beans and procured meats, a large supply of multivitamins will go a long way to keep your mind and body fully functional.".

Mack replies back "Chris you are absolutely correct. However when you are hungry rice is filling. When you are hunting and gathering for food rice makes the pickings a meal. I can gather a few greens or perhaps catch a fish but there is damned few edible and tasty carb foods out there to eat. Rice or wheat is the staple. And of course combine it with beans or other legumes to make a complete protein. The whole point of my post was not to claim you could live on rice alone but to show how cheap and easy it is for anyone to store a lot of meals for a little money. I also store wheat and freeze dried potatoes in various forms, but in everyday cooking when I'm planning a meal rice is the easiest and most satisfying carbohydrate choice for me and goes with any other food.

The problem I have with the multi-vitamin theory is it misleads people into thinking it is a solution. It is not. If you have multi vitamins and no food you have nothing. If you have food (a grain and legume) simple greens you can pick in your backyard and along the road will supplement most of your needed vitamins. I am preparing and my intent is to provide for anything and everything I might need and I will be storing no vitamins of any kind. I intend to get my essential nutrients from my food and I do indeed know what nutrients are in the foods I store and what nutrients are in the foods I can gather from the wild. Vitamins are a false crutch not a solution."

UrbanMan's comment:  I think Chris and Mack are both right, and both wrong.  Rice is undoubtedly one of the major staples in all Survivalist's food preps.  It is so easily stored, cooked and like Mack say's, goes with everything.  Chris is right that a nutritional supplement is necessary, as even the most well stocked preppers will not be able to get all the required vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from their foods, no matter how fresh they are.   In a SHTF environment with minimal medical care available, personal health is going to vitally important.  However, to put your faith in poor quality supplements is wasting your money and the time it takes to buy them.  I have read study after study about the poor quality store bought supplements, and long ago stopped buying them.  I have stocked one years supply (so far) of prescription grade vitamins and minerals, take them every day (as does my family) and using the first in, first out stockage plan will go into any collapse with at least one years supply.  It's paying off so far as I haven't been sick in many years. Hopefully that would continue into a degraded collapse environment. 

Food is important not just for the caloric (energy) value, but for a psychological value as well.  I have vacuum packed small amounts of hard candy in my buckets to provide for a "treat" during hard times, but rice, beans, pasta, nuts, soup mixes are my bulk staples.    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More on Solo Survival

Prepper Website left a new comment on the post "Planning to Survive Alone",.......:When I think of someone going solo, I think of staying fast and mobile. I would think that the hope would be, in a SHTF situation, to stay low until some sort of normalcy came back to society, then join the living. I picture a heavily forested area with plenty of moving room and maybe several areas to hold up in...some caches along the way etc...."

UrbanMan's reply: Prepper, I agree - fast and mobile,.....or, stationary and hidden in a well stocked safe location. About anyone with decent survival training and a modicum of preparation can survive. I've done that in small increments for training. Ten days with nothing other than a fixed blade knife, 2 one quart Army canteens and one canteen cup, a small survival kit with snare wire, para cord, matches, button compass, a lightweight poncho and a map. It sucked. I lost about ten pounds. Learned much about isolation and being bored as well. And as stoic and tough as we think we may be, humans are not made for isolation.

I think the idea is to not only survive but live with some decent standard of living. The only way to do that is to have planned ahead, prepared well, and most likely be part of a larger survival group.

I'm not advocating some type of "survival commune" living, but planning and preparing with an alike minded group of individuals and families for mutual support.

Caches are always a good idea. To support the Bug Out plan, either at or near the safe location, or along the way supporting long range movements. I have written several posts on caches. And my student Jim (from Survival Chronicles of Jim) emplaced a couple near his family cabin which is his Bug Out location.

I hope not, but cannot help but think there are people out there thinking that if a severe enough collapse comes, they will survive on their own in a minimalist fashion.  Great to have those skills, but better yet to be prepare across the spectrum of needs and do so with a focused plan and a team.     

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lights Out, For Real

News Report from the Associated Press,....HIGHLAND PARK, Michigan. (AP) -- As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes. It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out -- bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

UrbanMan's comments: Highland Park being $58 million in debt and taking out two-thirds of the light poles, is only one of many inner city and adjacent communities that are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy,...their own local financial collapse, which from a security pint of view sets the scene that many other communities across this country may very well experience in the coming months. In Highland Park's case, financial woes have taken this city to cut back on electric bills plunging many of the city's areas into darkness, causing crime, notable break ins and home invasions, to increased obviously from the advantage the unlighted streets give the criminals in casing, selecting, approaching and taking down houses.

This caused me to re-look my suburban community, adjacent from only a few short miles from the heart of a urban environment, and the possible security consequences of all public utility lighting turned off. Not only public utility lighting, but if the electrical grid goes down, which it will surely have the probability of doing in a large chaotic SHTF scenario, what will this mean to me and my survival team as far as added security requirements as all artificial light from ambient sources, mostly houses, will be gone?

Heretofore areas that provided good observations of oncoming traffic, friend or threat, were now dark with even darker shadowed areas that would provide concealed approach routes to our site.

The absence of lighting and threat of darkness can be mitigated somewhat with a larger security presence, obstacles and LP/OPs, but knowing ahead of time what areas will provide natural concealment will not only allow you to plan for security measures but also may allow you to channelize threats to where they be more effectively handled.

Solar powered flood lights that can be used in the motion detection role or modified to be turned on at the flip of a switch can be a great tool for early warning or to create the illumination for which to engage threats with verbal warnings and/or protective fires if need be. The problem with the sensitivity of motion detection lights can be gotten around by disabling that feature and using an initiator such as a pressure activated or pull release activated mechanism to turn the lights on focused on the appropriate area.

I have four solar powered floodlights currently mounted on my house, one on each side. All are mounted on bolts with wing nuts so I can rapidly take them down if needed someplace else or in case of a controlled Bug Out. Solar powered lights with low wattage bulbs can also be placed outdoors during the day time and brought inside during the night to provide interior illumination.

Of course, a robust night vision capability backed up by 81mm Mortar Illumination rounds would be a partial solution as well.:)

The bigger question is here is what does the bankruptcy of urban municipalities mean? This is a trend with debt ridden cities and the debt ridden national government. With less and less money to pay for entitlement programs we are much closer to seeing a Greece type economic collapse here and with 45 million people or so on welfare and that number growing every day, the Occupy Wall Street protests could turn rapidly into riots in major cities especially with any type of event that marginally interdicts the food supply.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Survival Roulette Wheel

I received this correspondence from "Jerry":............"Although this appears from as anonymous, call me "Jerry".  I am a former Marine Captain and have saw combat in Iraq, before I got out of the Corps.  I am now an insurance advisor for a nationally recognized company, have a side line business managing investments for some people (some of my old Marines for some), and have a network marketing business as well.  I live in a suburban area while it is not a gated community, we are governed by a Home Owners Association (HOA).  Most of the residents are older than my wife and I, and we are in our mid thirties.    

My wife doesn't necessarily agree with my preps.  She may even think my actions are part of PTSD.  I really don't care at this point, but I see a major event happening or starting to happen soon, so I want to be ready.   Next month the HOA is going to have elections again.  My wife is against me even attending these meetings, which so far I have not.   I think it prudent to be involved if for nothing else but to know the people in our area and have some type of ability to influence the actions of many and group think.  We live in a pretty good area, only one two lane road entering in and exiting out of our area.   Highly defensible for a Platoon of Marine riflemen, but not for a bunch of non-organized civilians. 

I am having a hard time explaining myself to my wife that I am not trying to take over the HOA.  In other activities I have became involved in, I have often found myself in a leadership role and I think my wife is worried that this will consume my time and degrade our businesses, and our family.   Any ideas on how to get her to see what I am going to do is a prudent measure?"

UrbanMan's reply:  Jerry, first of all, thanks you for your service.   Were you and your wife married when you were in the Corps?  If so, she ought to understand that your were, and are a leader and will continue to be in any segment of your life.  

Second of all, it seems like you are working like crazy on your life,, investment and a home based business.  Good for you. 

I would explain that trying to understand the HOA much like you did already with trying to get to know people and the credibility you establish with these fellow homeowners will go along way to providing some leadership or direction in the case of a collapse where, in all probability, your neighbor will have to stand together or perish separately.

It's kinda like this:  Imagine a Roulette wheel at the Casino.  You have 20 chips.  If you put all your chips onto one number, you have a small chance of winning anything.  If you place most of your chips on the three or four numbers you think will win, and then place maybe one chip on numbers that you are less sure off, you'll have better chances of winning something.......risk mitigation.  You understand this from the Corps where risk assessment and risk management are a fact of life.

If you think food and protection-security are the biggest risks then you put a high percentage of your resources into stored food, survival site selection and survival firearms.  If you think that even in the collapse, electricity won't be a problem, then you may save the money you would put into solar, wind and other energy technologies and use it for other higher priorities.  If you think that there will be no exchange of commerce except for barter and that precious metals will not be worth anything, then you would not be stocking Gold and Silver.   If you think there is a chance, however small, of being able to use Gold and Silver then you may put a minimum amount of your resources procuring precious metals. 

I think the idea of getting involved at least on the edges of your HOA can pay off big dividends if/when the SHTF comes.   The good thing a HOA would have is connectivity within that community. Placing names to addresses.  I know a local urban HOA that hosts gardening classes each month......ready made for converting to vegetables rather than flowers.   

Did you read a previous post from Selco who survived Bosnia in 1992 to 1995?  He said it best when it takes a team or a group to survive.  The HOA is part of the team you have.  Most of the people in the HOA will see you as a leader whether or not you serve on the board or not.   Getting involved in the HOA will give you the contacts to develop this credibility so it can be exploited when you need to.  Hooah Captain, Drive On.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Financial Collapse in Americans Cities, Counties and States

From the Yahoo! article titled: 9 American Cities and Counties Going Broke

Pension plans, rising prices, depleted population and therefore reduced tax base all contribute to the following cities going broke. Image the potential chaos when city and county pensioners, food bank recipients and city county employees are not paid.

Imagine if the city/county utilities fail because of lack of money....either to pay for fuel, maintenance, etc., or just fail because they cannot pay their workers. The aftermath of these local governments going broke may give us some insight to a larger U.S. collapse.

These are nine American cities or counties facing financial collapse:

1. Central Falls, RI
2. Pontiac, MI
3. Jefferson County, AL
4. Harrison, NJ
5. Detroit, MI
6. Salem, NJ
7. Riverdale, IL
8. Strafford County, NH
9. Camden, NJ

Not only is this happening with cities and counties, several states are near collapse.  2.2 million unemployed in California.  1 million of have been unemployed over one year.  Another 530,000 unemployed people have just exhausted their 3 years of unemployment benefits.  There are another 6 million Americans who are scheduled to lose federal unemployment benefits in 2012.  Almost one third of them (1.8 million) will be running out of these benefits in January 2012 alone. 

Illinois' is almost bankrupt.  The state had to borrow billions of dollars this year to pay for unfunded state pensions.   Business is leaving Illinois at about the same rate they are exiting California (5 viable businesses leaving every two weeks) due to unreasonable state regulations and anti-business taxation.   

Welfare rates in heretofore financially stable areas is increasing dramactically.  This is obvious due to the poor economy nationwide, dwindling employment opportunities, and changing demographics as there is a hidden exodus of people all over the country moving trying to find a sustainable way to live. 

Imagine what will happen to the already existing and currently expanding anti-capitalist demonstration being enacted across the country. Fueled to a large extent by liberal, leftist and union groups (sorry for being redundant) a hotter catalyst for these demonstrations, who currently only have a vague point, could be the
financial collapse of one or two middle to large sized population centers.

Some of these high population dense centers are going to cause follow on problems for outlying communities from any number of reasons: refugee traffic; collapsed logistics chains of supply from warehousing areas or supply distribution centers; utilities breakdown on water, electrical, consumer vehicle fuels or natural gas; and increased crime.

If you are near any of the nine population centers listed above you should be weighing the risks and possible threat streams. If you are near ANY population centers you should do the same.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Selco's SHTF School

I tell people that as Americans we have very few examples of SHTF scenarios from which to draw lessons learned and conclusions from. Basically the Civil War, which happened 150 years ago, and the Great Depression of the 1930’s are our national history and sources for hard times. We also utilize novels based on potential causes of and the aftermath of some type of collapse event,….be it EMP or economic collapse. Most Survivalists have read “Patriots”, “One Second After”, “Lights Out” and possibly the new Rawles’ novel “Survivors”.

However, what I didn’t realize until I read Selco’s posts on Survivalistboards was that this country is full of transplanted Americans or otherwise people who have escaped terrible situations in other countries and have immigrated to the U.S.  They have a wealth of knowledge to share with us. 

I welcome Selco’s website, as an excellent resource for first hand experience and lessons learned from his survival of the Bosnian conflict. Great website Selco!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Planning to Survive Alone

UrbanSurvivalSkills received the following comment or e-mail (can’t remember which) but I have taken out key words in order to provide some OPSEC to the writer who we’ll call “Bob”. Bob wrote,......I have been reading your site for several months now. I am a retired military engineer, I served 30+ yrs. I have always been a closet "survivalist". I served nine tours in various parts of the planet and am very much aware of what can happen when things breakdown. Now while I agree with 90% of what you say, especially about survival being a team effort, my question to you is this: What can a single individual do to prepare, and what advice can you give to someone who through circumstance must go it alone? I have stocked food, guns are no problem and I reload for everything but shotgun. I have no stock of precious metals and frankly I don't think gold or silver would help much except in the very short term. I keep cash on hand and do pay attention to news items (mostly financial news) I think I am about half way to the level of preparedness I want. In a crisis what measures should I take for security? Other than the obvious electronic options (all requiring power sources of some type) what should I take into consideration? Thanks for your comments. Regards Bob

UrbanMan Replies: Bob, you’re an old guy like me. That alone gives you an edge because you’ll think through your situations and develop your requirements from that and not act as hastily. It’s a given that the fact is Survival is a team sport,…. but you are alluding to having to go it alone. If you do not have the ability to build a team there will be some priorities for you as an individual survivalist. A couple of those priorities may be:

Your survival location needs to be very secure. Remote area, defensible ground, observable approach routes, covered and/or concealed Bug Out or escape routes all carry a bigger importance as you may have to rely on them more quickly than a larger team. This may have to be an austere environment if you expect to ride it out without compromise. Be careful about brushing out or reducing sign off of normal roads that lead to accessing your place. You can leverage your security using mechanical and electronic means for early warning devices. Since you have a military engineer background as well as the availability of numerous publications, you can simply fashion early devices from mousetraps, trip wire and flashlights and/or snap caps….particularly to cover approach routes and dead space. You may be able to wire a solar panel and disguise it well enough, maybe with remote cables, to power a game camera that will send a picture over the air to cell phone or lap top.

Commercial or field expedient spike strips may help you protect vehicle capable routes to your location. These would need to be placed at a location that a vehicle would travel in order to setup, assembly or otherwise attack you. This really goes for any mechanical early warning device.

In the event of a catastrophic collapse with absence of civilian or military law, command detonated home made explosive devices may be a force multiplier for your situation. Although I would always caution people against violating state and federal laws governing explosive devices. Maybe an explosives license is in order to be legal. People reading this post – do not think I am advocating the violation of any existing BATFE regulation concerning explosives or destructive devices, because I am not. However, I would assume that in a total collapse scenario the inhibitions against breaking such regulations and federal law may not be a concern to some people.

At the very least I would have some solar power generating capability and an AM/FM/UHF/SSB type radio if not a full blown HAM radio setup. This will allow you to stay abreast of the situation as well as not feel too isolated.

As for cash and/or precious metals…..I would re-consider having at least some silver to go along with your cash on hand. This would be primarily for emergency purchases at, or just after, the collapse beginning, or further into chaos of it all. So I would convert some of my cash holdings to silver. It will at least hold it’s value when paper fiat currency loses it’s value.

Items for barter would be good also. Consider small items that when you normally buy 2, buy four, such as butane lighters, socks, boxes of band aids, iso-alcohol, soap, heirloom seeds, batteries, etc.,…the list is endless. These small items would allow you to travel longer distances, enhancing your security and better protecting the location of your place, if and when to go make contact with other people.

The following books may help determine early warning and booby trap solutions for your safe area. Good luck.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Major Storms on East Coast

Headlines from yesterday morning - Millions in the Northeast remain without power as recovery efforts continue. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports power outages in the following states: West Virginia , 14,937; Virginia 10,600; Pennsylvania 307,000; New York 265,155, and, New Jersey 597,083.

The News media is reporting approximately 750,000 customers without power in Connecticut; at least 650,000 in Massachusetts; 285,000 in New Hampshire; and over 150,000 in Maine. There have been about 10 storm-related fatalities to date. Note: that estimate has been recently updated to over 20 deaths.

FEMA, as well as all the affected states have activated their Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) and State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) respectively. FEMA Logistics is coordinating transportation of 30,000 gallons of water the Northeast. The American Red Cross states that shelters in Massachusetts and Connecticut are open and ready to receive occupants.

The National Guard Bureau reports that National Guard units in Massachusetts and Connecticut have been activated to provide support to the State EOC’s and medical response.

The Department of Transportation reports Amtrak service has resumed in Eastern Pennsylvania and some New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority lines should be in service soon. The Federal Aviation Administration states that there are no delays at airports on the East Coast, however the television/cable news reports there are substantial delays.

Do you know what would bother me the most? Even thinking about being dependent upon the federal government for ANY relief or support. This is a good lead for anyone who is having trouble getting their family to prep at any level. A few extra days of food and water; some candles and lanterns; cold weather gear such as appropriately rated sleeping bags; and of course security and protection precautions since scum bags are keenly attuned to take advantage to any situation or circumstances.

I recently attended a party where I was telling someone about an edible plant they had in their backyard. Another lady, who I found out later was a high school English teacher, was standing nearby and overheard us then told me words to the effect “…that it was cool I knew about edible plants then she remarked that she had just finished reading the novel ‘One Second After’ and was scared to death, and, now was stockpiling some food…”. Some lessons learned from storms can be lessons learned for the rest us; can be used to develop or start developing a prepper mindset in family and friends who are reluctant to believe that bad times can happen; and, can provide a realistic measurement of what the government can/cannot do. Just imagine all the people sitting idle waiting on the government to come to their aid.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

SHTF - The Bosnian Example

The below linked article is from www.Surivalistboards. I found it through a link on Chris Martenson's Daily Digest of 10/21.

I have often wrote that Survival is a Team Sport, as the tasks and necessities of survival in a collapse situation, or when SHTF if you prefer, is going to require many people. Obviously a smaller, tight knit team is better than a larger, un-disciplined group of individuals. The idea of surviving on your own, or even in a small family unit is fantasy unless you are so remote and so well stocked as to be able to pull it off. Even then, eventually the chances of running into trouble be it from an armed threat, .....or from disease, illness or injury that would require help are great.

In the reference post from www.survivalistboards, the author (Selco) talks about his experiences from Bosnia from 1992-1995. I found this quote of his quite telling: ".......and from my experience, you can not survive alone, strength is in the numbers, be close with your family, prepare with them, choose your friends wisely and prepare with them too."

Again, here is the link to the article.