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Showing posts with label collapse planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collapse planning. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More Homestead Defense Planning

This is an article sent to me by a retired banker friend who is now planning on moving off the grid, using his considerable resources to get it right the first time. I spent some time on and off with him, convincing him that a retirement community adjacent to a golf course, was not necessarily the ideal Bug In location, as well as the need to upgrade his firearms. Anyway, that's for another story. Here is the article, "Beyond the Defensible Space Fire safety and the structure of your home", by Mat Stein

Matthew Stein is a design engineer, green builder, and author of two bestselling books: When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival (Chelsea Green 2011), and When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency (Chelsea Green 2008). Stein is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. Stein has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and is a repeat guest on Fox News, Coast-to-Coast AM, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Vince Finelli’s USA Prepares, and The Power Hour. He is an active mountain climber, serves as a guide and instructor for blind skiers, has written several articles on the subject of sustainable living, and is a guest columnist for the Huffington Post. and

[NOTE: In light of the tragic loss of life of the brave firefighters in Arizona and for all the men and women firefighters who work to protect lives and property, we all need to make extra efforts to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires and home fires. Our work both inside and out of our homes will not only create defensible spaces, but, just as importantly, will assist those who risk their lives to stay out of harms way. This article is adapted from When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival]

Following on the heels of 2012’s record-breaking droughts, heat waves, and fire storms, this year’s fires season is off to an earlier and more deadly/damaging start in several of the western states. If current scientific predictions of global warming prove anywhere near correct, then we can expect that devastating wildfires will become the new normal in the coming years, reaching a broader spectrum of geographical zones that previously escaped such conflagrations. Whether you are a homeowner wishing to improve the fire resistance of your current dwelling or are planning to build a new home, beyond creating a “defensible space” around your home there are a number of other actions you can take to improve the chances that your home will survive a local wildfire. These guidelines are typically applied to homes located in areas where long periods of dry weather are common, such as many of the western states. However, due to changing times, people in many areas where the threat of wildfires was previously a non-issue are now finding it to be a growing concern.

Lessons from the 1993 Laguna Fire

In October 1993, when a vicious wildfire broke out in Laguna Beach, a southern California beach town, firefighter John Henderson was called down from his home in the Sierras of northern California to fight this blaze. The combination of extremely dangerous fire conditions, brought on by three consecutive drought years coupled with 60 to 70 mph hot and dry Santa Ana winds, quickly whipped the fire into an unstoppable conflagration, burning hundreds of homes to the ground! When John rounded a corner on the Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Laguna Beach, he saw a sight that he will never forget. He and his partner watched the firestorm rush down the dry hills toward the ocean. The heat of the firestorm was so intense that, even after blowing across four lanes of pavement, it was hot enough to ignite a mile-long stretch of wooden telephone poles on the ocean side of the road. From a distance, he said they looked like a string of matchsticks stuck in the sand, igniting one after the other until there were perhaps a hundred telephone poles burning at once.

•Many if not most homes burned from the inside out when firestorm heat radiated through closed windows and slipped inside through foundation and roof vents to ignite interior curtains, rugs, etc. Double-pane windows and heavily insulated walls will slow the rate of heat penetration into interior spaces.

•The only buildings to survive the Laguna Fire had insulated walls, double-pane windows, and blocked or minimized venting. A well-insulated, well-sealed building envelope and high thermal mass will slow interior heating and ignition.

•Minimize venting, and screen all vent openings to prevent flaming embers from entering vents. Removable fire-wall vent blocks should be placed in front of foundation and roof vents during periods of extreme fire danger to keep hot air from easily penetrating the building envelope.

•One of the few Laguna homes in the path of the firestorm to survive had a 40-foot-wide strip of the green succulent “ice plant” (creating an excellent “defensible space”) and a concrete tiled roof (an exceptionally fire resistant roof). The firestorm blew right over the top of the ice plant and the house, dropped burning embers on the concrete tile roof, roasted a 10-foot-wide swath of ice plant, but failed to ignite the building’s structure.

•Stucco, cement, or earthen walls are preferred. If wood siding is desired, it should be applied over a ?-inch sheetrock fire wall for improved fire resistance. Cement-based weatherboard can look like wood but give you cement board’s superior fire resistance. Even with a stucco or cement weatherboard sheath, an underlying wood-framed wall might ignite if the firestorm gets hot enough.

•All projections (roof eaves, etc.) should be protected on the underside with cement stucco or cement board (like Certainteed or Hardie Board) that looks like wood. A less-preferred alternative is to paint natural wood with fire-resistant coating to improve its resistance to ignition by burning embers. Hot air rises and can easily ignite roof overhangs in a firestorm.

•Coat wood decks with multiple layers of a fire-resistant urethane deck covering (Pacific Polymers or similar) or treat wood decking with fire-resistant coatings (Fire Stop or similar).

Note: Chemical treatments, such as Fire Stop, will inhibit ignition by burning embers, but will not prevent ignition due to a superhot firestorm. A stucco coat (¾ inch or thicker) on the underside of wooden decks was credited with saving two homes in the Laguna Beach fire. There is a new fly-ash composite decking board from LifeTime Lumber that has a “Class A” fireproof rating and is LEED certified for its recycled content, that can be used to build high-quality fireproof decks. Trex and many of the other similar competing composite decking manufacturers have come out with “Class B” fire-resistant wood/plastic composite decking to meet California’s new wildland fire codes.

•Use only “Class A” fire-rated roofing systems, which are rated to prevent both the roofing material itself, and roofing underlayment (plywood) from catching fire when covered with burning embers. Most asphalt and fiberglass shingles are Class A rated, but metal roofing usually requires the use of Versashield underlayment (or equal) to achieve this rating. “Living” roofs (planted sod) have excellent fire resistance as well as thermal mass and insulation. With Class A roofing, the eaves and overhangs are the most vulnerable areas of the roof owing to the fire down below.

(Above list adapted and expanded from John Underwood, Fire Resistant Details: Studying the Houses That Survived the 1993 Laguna Beach Fire Storm Yields Lessons in Building to Withstand the Heat, Fine Home

There are a number of building systems that are inherently fire-resistant. Basically, if it is earth or concrete based, it is very fire resistant. Also, if you fill the wall with foam or straw to eliminate dead air spaces and the chimney effect, and sheath the wall with stucco, earthen plasters, or cement board, even if it is wood-framed, it will have good fire resistance. Do your best to make your roof, eaves, and decks fire resistant too, since your home will only be as fire resistant as its weakest link. Obviously, traditional stone, brick, and concrete-block construction are also quite fire resistant, provided their roofs are not a weak link in the system.

With burning embers settling on rooftops, in many cases it is the roof that forms the weak link in the fire-resistance chain. Traditional wooden shake and shingle are notorious for catching on fire from burning embers. For fire-resistant roofing, consider the following options:

•Use only “Class A” fire-rated roofing.

•Class A roofing must withstand burning embers on roof without igniting plywood sheeting.

•Most modern composition (asphalt) shingles are “Class A” fire-rated.

•Metal roofs transmit heat easily to the underlying plywood, so they tend to be not as fire resistant as you might imagine, unless they are underlaid with an insulating flame-resistant lining. They are usually only Class A fire resistant with the addition of Versashield underlayment (or similar).

•I recommend two layers of Versashield FR underlayment (or similar) FR barrier for extra fire barrier between metal roofing and its underlying plywood sheeting.

Friday, October 19, 2012

7 Day Warning to SHTF

"Hey Urbanman, saw a conversation in a forum about what would you do if you had 7 days notice until SHTF. I'd like to hear from you about what you would do in this situation. To be sure, I don't believe I need seven days and I ain't thinking I'm going to be getting it. Prepare Well, Fight Hard. Frankster."

UrbanMan replies: Frankster, to be frank (I had to make that pun) seven days notice would be great. I routinely look at a wide variety of sources, from financial to political, to develop any sense of an impending collapse. A lot can happen in seven days and I don't expect anyone to be able to predict the collapse in a coming seven days.

I do think that one can analyze threat streams and conclude that the near term collapse is very likely,......whether it takes 2 day or 60 days. Therefore, once I think that SHTF is imminent there are some things, in a list of priorities, that I would try and do hoping to get them all accomplished before the time to hunker down and wait it out.

These are my priorities. The rest of my team's priorities may be a little different since our concept and agreement is that we would consolidate at my place (primary) and another's location (alternate) – these are our initial safe Bug In Locations. So some of my team's priorities would be the start moving additional items to my place.

My priorities: I am listing these priorities using a numbering system and the same numbers to indicate what I think I can do simultaneously.

1. Withdrawal of my bank accounts to maximize the use of fiat currency until that is no longer accepted. I think we'll see cash purchases still accepted but at extremely high mark ups. As I start seeing more critical indicators, I would start keeping more cash on hand. Banks can be ordered to close and ATM’s machines can cease to work.

1. Fill up all empty fuel cans,....using credit cards, fiat currency, barter items, then silver in that order. While I am filling up last remaining fuel containers, procure extra filled propane canisters as well. I can use them for many things among them cooking, heating and barter.

1. Fill up all my empty water containers – 5 gallon cans, bathtub bobs and 55 gallon drums.

Note: While I always have some stored water and fuel, both will eventually go bad if stored forever, so I only maintain a minimal amount. Timing is important to getting maximum life out of your stocks.

As I write this I made myself aware that what I don't have is an extra oil change set with motor oil and filters and an new air cleaner. I'll rectify this in the next two weeks, so this will be off my list. May as well pickup an additional bottle of chain oil for the chain saws, although I have two extra chains - one new, one used.

2. I make a lumber run picking up some plywood and 2x4x8's because they'll come in handy. If the crash is truly imminent, then my credit cards or cash ain't going to worth very much soon, may as well turn it into something useful. 2. I'll buy as much canned and boxed food as I can, using the same modes of payment as above. In fact, all my last minute pre-SHTF purchases will be on this model: credit, cash, barter then silver. Although I will not put myself at risk going to people packed grocery stores. At this time with the collapse imminent, the two person rule will be in effect and if some of my team consolidates at my place, we'll start to implement a 24 hour cycle of security.

I won't need to visit any of the sporting goods or gun shops. I am pretty well set on survival firearms, ammunition, camping gear and miscellaneous items. Maybe a stop at the local Dollar store to buy socks, t-shirts, sweat shirts, and miscellaneous first aid item but only if these stores are not a mad house of humanity.

The bottom line is that once the collapse is occurring or it is evident to the massed population of TEOTWAKI, the safest place to be is hunkered down at your Bug Out location.  Make each and every venture outside of this safety in a cold, sober manner and only execute if it is absolutely necessary.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Survival Mom's Advice for Kids

UrbanSurvivalSkills is a fan of Lisa Bedford, the author of Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios, and editor of the excellent survival and self-reliance blog, The Survival Mom.

One of her posts was printed on Peak Prosperity and titled The 4 Survival Skills Every Kid Should Know Some of outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls’ biggest fans are kids. Their eyes widen at his derring-do, and boys and girls alike admire his survival skills and savvy. But the survival skills that are more likely to keep our kids safe and sound are actually far more mundane! Here are four survival skills that every kid should know, along with a few tips for parents.

What to do if lost A lost child is a scared child, and usually their first instinct is to begin searching for their family. Train your children to stop and sit as soon as they realize they are lost. Assure them that, no matter how scared they might be, you are searching for them at that very moment; but also that, if they keep moving around, it will take longer to find them. Consider equipping your children with an inexpensive cell phone and when venturing outdoors, a few survival items tucked in a backpack or their pockets. Items such as a whistle, a bright bandana and a bottle of water are the makings of a kids’ survival kit that will go a long way to helping them be found more quickly.

How to answer the door when home alone Usually the best strategy is to not answer the door! Yes, the person knocking could be a burglar scoping out the neighborhood. But once the door is opened, it’s that much easier for an intruder to enter. And children are easily overpowered. Train your child to enforce home security: Keep doors and windows locked and blinds and curtains closed. Noise from a TV or radio is fine. Someone with questionable motives will think twice about entering a home if they hear noises inside, even if the house is closed up and no one answers the door.

What to do in a medical emergency From a young age, kids can learn how to dial 911 and report an emergency, but this takes practice. Spend some time rehearsing phone calls, teaching your children to relay detailed information to an operator, follow his or her instructions, and then stay on the line until help arrives. If possible, children should also get the home ready for the arrival of EMTs by putting pets in closed areas and, if it’s nighttime, turning on both indoor and outdoor lights. Summer is an ideal time for children to take first aid and CPR classes, that are typically suitable for kids age 9 and up.

How to maintain situational awareness When driving in the car, for instance, ask your kids to describe a building or vehicle you just passed. Teach them to pay attention to the route home by asking them to give you driving directions! This one skill can help your child avoid many dangerous situations. The concept is simply for children to be aware of the people and events around them. Parents can help their children become more observant and aware—not by scaring them, but by playing games to teach and practice this skill. When driving in the car, for instance, ask your kids to describe a building or vehicle you just passed. Teach them to pay attention to the route home by asking them to give you driving directions! Tell them to close their eyes and describe what someone in the room is wearing. Encourage them to check out the license plates of passing cars: Which states are they from? What is the sum of the numbers on the license plate? Being aware of their surroundings will help them avoid predatory people and other dangerous scenarios. Simple to teach. Fun to practice. And, quite possibly, a life saver.

UrbanMan's comments: Excellent tips for kids by an obviously clear thinking Mom. I would add some tips to this,...... Give your kids their own back pack/Bug Out Bag when they are at a responsible enough age to understand that when out of the house, shopping or to the zoo or wherever, that the bag stays within arms reach at all times. Have them carry their own water (even if it's one small bottle), some trail mix and/or granola bars, a spare set of socks, maybe a rain poncho and a host of other small items.  Maybe include a routine check of the contents prior to going out so the child starts to get used to pre-execution checks and inspections.  

Teach your kids how to tell cardinal directions and refer to traveling in these directions. Test them by asking which direction are we going in now? Teach them the clock method of pointing out things. See that blue house at your 1 o'clock? See that black truck at our 6?

I like Survival Mom's idea on home security, but add in a procedure on what to do if someone with ill intent enters your house. What are the escape routes and where to go once the child is out of the house. Refer to this as the Bug Out plan.

All of the above is to start socializing survival concepts and mindset, and, self reliance.

Friday, August 31, 2012

More Comments on Threat Groups

Thanks to PSYOP Soldier for letting us know the original post was blacked out.
Falcon15 has left a new comment on your post "Debate on Survival Threat Groups": Survival threat group: THEM. If you are not one of US you are one of THEM. In a full blown collapse, SHTF, etc. 1 year after the event or events, if you are not one of our group, I either want you dead or part of my group. As far as the period building up to the 1 year mark, for anyone to have found US, they needed to either know where we are, been looking specifically for us, or gone way out of their way looking. So unless you are exceptionally well known and can be positively identified, you may be asked, nicely at first, to leave. Failure to do so, and crossing a certain threshold brings you under Texas (thank God I live in the Great State) Castle Law. Just saying. Great post, keep them coming!

UrbanMan replies: Thanks Falcon 15 for your comments. Roger your comments on the US and THEM. I just had this conversation with a couple regarding the fact that in a collapse your neighbors and even friends will turn against you if it means their survival. That is the danger of exposing your survival preparatory lifestyle to the “Ostrich Heads” who think nothing will happen, hence no need to plan or prep. They are the “Hey lets go to the Burger King then to the movies!” as opposed to ”let’s go find some bargains at the local thrift mart or flea market and work off some items off our prep list.”

These people, the Ostrich Heads, who prefer to ignore the threat,…the impending economic – dollar – infrastructure collapse that so close upon us,….they will come to you if they know you are prepared. They will smooze you at first, then plea or beg, maybe want to be part of your group now that the necessity is upon them. They’ll maybe even threaten you and lastly will certainly have no qualms about going against you if it is a question of their survival or not.
Depending upon your location and nearest organized threat, you may not have much to fear, at least initially, from the really bad threat groups like street gangs and such, however it is phenomenal just how quickly a mob can be organized and feed off each other’s fears and hatred.  In fact, this country has bred an entitlement mentality which makes them believe they should be given everything  they need.   

If you are located on or near a likely mass migration route you could potentially see large groups of people moving through your neighborhood looting and running amok.  Barriers, fences, obstacles and even a show of an armed and organized force may not matter if these people are near starvation or their anger clouds their judgment. My survival group has discussed courses of action on what we do if we have to defend our site against any threat group, organized or not.

Many branches for planning here. What if you engage a group of armed thugs, kill several but some get away. Did you just teach them to go someplace else? Did you just create a group now solely focused on you?  What do they now know of your defenses and response? 

What do you do with the bodies? Our plan, if possible and as long as we have the capability, is that we’ll record on digital photos and from any documents taken off the dead for future identification, before we bury them.  We will also attempt to write a record of what happened – like an official statement  This is to support any legal efforts when and if society comes back on line.

We have talked about stragglers and even large groups of people moving through. To help all that appear in your area or on your “door step” obviously degrades you own supplies as well as poses an OPSEC risk. But how do you enforce your own security protocols on un-armed groups? These un-armed people still poses a threat to you.  Everything from attracting others, to stealing or looting, and even just as a source of information about your location and preps if they move on.     
SO, we get the “US” and “THEM” concept.  I think groups who do not war game what to plan for when faced with situations from massed refugees to well armed threat groups are just unprepared.     

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Questions on SHTF Bug Out

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post Urban Survival Planning – Reconnaissance and Security: "I live in Arizona and will be here another three years. If/when SHTF, I plan to be prepared. Got a decent amount of stuff and will be fairly good soon. However, my buddy has family on the east coast which would be a good getaway, but that distance seems rather daunting in most situations. I guess you never know what the situation at hand will be, but I'm trying to figure out do I invest in the more costly items for survival such as a $1,000 generator, etc., or sort of do what I gotta do for 3-6 month span and then take it from there? Living in the city is the worst part. I think that is what my biggest concern is. Aside from gun and ammo, there's not a whole lot else one can do for safety. Any other ideas for safety? Thought about a camera for outside monitoring."  

UrbanMan's reply:  Good questions. A long journey from Arizona to the East Coast is possible, but  improbable depending upon the collapse situation. Best case is that you see the collapse coming and complete your journey afbefore the worst of it hits. Given that this would be a 4 day trip, minimum at best, the situation - especially the security situation - could deteriorate during the middle of your trip forcing you to stop at a time and place detrimental to your safety. This would, of course, have to be considered before leaving. Everything from mass migration of refugees, to government martial law, and expected travel restrictions could strand you. In a total collapse I would envision bands of armed gangs, or at least desperate individuals, conducting ambushes on likely transit routes.  I would expect smaller communities would probably man road blocks for their own security forcing traffic to take different routes.

Fuel would be problematic. Two years ago, while a friend of mine was overseas, I was “on-call” to travel 860 miles (one way) to pickup his family and transport them to my Bug In location....hopefully before the collapse hit hard.  I figured I would have to have a full tank of fuel plus eighteen 5 gallon fuel cans to make the trip. If I could get fuel on the way, great,....if not, then I could make it there and back, barring accidents, road blocks, gangs, etc. My point being if you were planning on a long distance trip, I would want to begin that trip with enough on board fuel to make it to where I was heading without relying on luck or someone else’s kindness to sell or barter the fuel to me.

As far as the generator goes, those are great assets when or if you have the fuel to run it.  I have a hoard of empty fuel cans which I will fill as indicators start indicating the need.  I always maintain a small amount of fuel which I routinely change out.   But stored fuel will eventually run out.  I personally have solar panels. I use both small, portable solar panels to re-charge 12v vehicle batteries and chargers for AAA and AA re-chargeable batteries for my lanterns, flashlights, weapons lights, and radios. I have a larger solar power generator that can be easily loaded into a vehicle and taken with us when/if we bug out. I am just not going to depend upon being able to find fuel, either at the beginning of the collapse or several months into it. Plus fuel breaks down, so these movies and books where the hero finds a vehicle that was abandoned years before and he siphons the fuel and uses it, it is a little farfetched. Check out the Power Source 1800 Solar Generator.

As far as security, nothing works like physical barriers and active armed (and trained) observers.  Technology neeeds to be exploited to make life easier for us and to cover any operational requirements we may have. A game camera or home security camera that detects or senses movement then sends that photo to an e-mail or as picture mail to your cell phone is a fairly cheap and easy solution. Solar powered motion detection flood lights work good as also. Be sure to mount these so you can easily dismount and take with you when/if you have to bug out.

Good luck,..plan and prepare well. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gun Control Looming

I think I am less inclined then all of my friends and people I have worked with to buy into "conspiracy theories". A change of a few words,...a misperception,....or only hearing one side of the story or issue helps facilitate conspiracy stories. However, what was forwarded to me concerning our current adminstration's seeming dalliance with a concept called World Law really concerns me.

Most of us believe in three things:  1 - That we should not trust a government that does not trust us to own guns, and 2 - The U.S. constitution guarantees the right to own and bear guns. 

This right is necessary and central to the plans of all survivalists preparing for SHTF be it an economic collapse, total infrastructure failure or whatever label someone wants to put on The End Of The World As We Know It. 

A person I know who doesn't even own a gun sent me a link to a Lew Rockwell site referencing an article from Mac Slavo of SHTF Plan, a name all preppers and survivalists should recognize.

Five Words For the United Nations: FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS by Mac Slavo, SHTF Plan

In January of this year reports began surfacing that members of the United Nations were conspiring with American politicians to further erode the Second Amendment rights of the people of these United States: “In New York, right here on our own shores, we’ve got a Trojan horse. They won’t accept U.S. firearms policy. They want to take the decision away from the U.S. electorate and undermine our Constitution.” ~Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, US Delegate to UN Small Arms Conference, January 2012

While actions at the UN posed a serious threat to our right to bear arms, few acknowledged the legitimacy of the issue and fewer still had even heard anything about it. The Obama administration is now just a matter of weeks away from joining other foreign powers in the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty at United Nations.

While many will argue that the new treaty will not restrict gun ownership in America, 2nd Amendment proponents disagree and maintain that the new treaty could pave the way for an eventual nationwide gun grab. Dick Morris, who is spearheading a petition to stop Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the United States from signing the treaty, explains the inherent dangers within: …Obama is planning, with Hillary, a backdoor move to impose gun control on the United States. It’s totally outrageous.

You know, Obama has not pushed gun control during his administration – a notable absence for a liberal. But it’s because he was saving the best for last. Hillary is now negotiating a small arms treaty in the United Nations… The purpose of the small arms treaty is to stop small arms, which they define as pistols, handguns, rifles, assault weapons, even machine guns from being exported to other countries. … What Obama is doing with Hillary is to negotiate a treaty that would allegedly stop individual citizens and businesses from selling their arms overseas.

To do that each country would be obliged to set up its own system of registration, and controls, and inventory controls… It’s entirely a backdoor effort to force gun registration and eventually bans and restrictions with the act of the United States Congress – to do it with international treaty. One of the deadly parts about this is that when a treaty is signed and made binding in the United States it acquires the force of a Constitutional Amendment. Under the Supremacy Clause, every Congress and every state legislature has to honor that treaty, unless a Constitutional Amendment is passed to the contrary or unless all the other signatories let the U.S. out of the treaty.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Know Your Survival Threat- Racists Skinheads

I think alot of us worry about a substantial collapse that brings security destabilization to our cities and
suburbs.   One of the larger threats are already organized groups, usually criminal in nature,  and
based on their organization along racial lines are well organized and well armed. 

I have previously written about street gangs, which may be part of national organizations, they are
regionally or locally bound.  

Another group to be aware of are the Racist Skinheads.  Organizing since the mid 1980's, the Racists Skinheads and alike groups such as the Aryan Nation have been rising in membership for 10 years and now have over 133 separate skinheads chapters across the country. 

Somewhat simlar to Outlaw Motorycle Gangs, Racist Skinheads represent a big threat not just to
miniorities but to all groups that are weaker than them especially in a SHTF where normal security
mechanism such as local and federal law enforcement are over whelmed or not effective.

Location, physical defenses, well equipped survival team, and good tacticial SOP's are your counter -measure for highly mobile and violent groups like the Racist Skinheads.  But first it starts with being able to recognize their members and know their tactics. 

For an education in Racist Skinheads, watch the short video below. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I re-learned a lesson just the other day on the importance of PACE plan planning . PACE, of course, stands for “Primary, Alternative, Contingency and Emergency” or otherwise just an acronym to remember to have contingency plans. The idea is to have an alternate method of plan to immediately (and hopefully seamlessly) transition to when the primary plan cannot be executed. Much like carrying a rifle and a handgun, if the rifle runs dry or has a malfunction, the shooter can transition to the handgun, often times, much quicker than resolving an empty rifle or malfunction.

The lesson I learned was in route planning. I work in an office close to the heart of the city. I have a 26 mile drive (21 miles line of sight) to get from my suburban home to work. Like a lot of people going to and from work each day, I have alternate routes based on any construction or traffic delays, but in my survivalist mindset these are also Bug Out Routes.

I fully understand that a catastrophic event like a nuclear attack or terrorist strike, or industrial accident like a train wreck releasing toxic chemicals, or some crazy government announcement could cause a mass migration effect from the city and block even the highest speeds avenues of approach (the road network).

I have analyzed my routes and the chokepoints be they bridges, four lanes going to two lanes, intersections around Wal-marts, etc., that could be clogged up with panicked people and all sorts of possibilities.

The “E” of my Bug Out Route PACE plan is moving on foot. Twenty One miles carrying my “all the time” Bug Out bag and bits and pieces of kit from my supplemental bag in my trunk. In a perfect world, I could easily make this trek in seven to eight hours. If I have to bypass crowds or identified threats, or hunker down to let threats by-pass me then this journey could take over night. In fact, there would be some situations where using the cover of darkness may be preferable. I carry two cell phones, one from work and the other a personal cell phone, and a FRS radio in my Bug Out Bag so I can keep my people informed of my progress.

So, back to the lesson I learned,.....several days ago I left work to find traffic backed up bumper to bumper for miles. The radio said there was a massive accident involving a tractor-trailer and several cars. As I was mentally planning to access an alternate route I also heard on the radio that were accidents at locations which would have blocked off my access to these routes. I could have just sat in traffic waiting for the accident to clear and later I found out that it would have been a 2 to 2 ½ hour wait, and as it was I thought “jeez, now I have found some holes in my route planning,…who would have thought there was a possibility of accidents blocking all my planned route, but then again these accidents could have just as easily been a mass of people leaving the city.”

Then I thought “what if this was one of those collapse events and I would absolutely need to get home”, what would I do? I briefly thought about parking the car, grabbing my BOB and heading out on foot. There was no threat and it would be good to rehearse this plan, but I really needed to find an alternate route as of yet unknown to me. I remembered an medical office building construction site, adjacent to a park which was adjacent to a golf course.

I ended up taking that route,..was able to navigate over a couple curbs in my vehicle and eventually accessed the gold course parking lot then a suburban street which lead around all the wrecks on the main avenues. I called my wife and had her turn on our FRS base station and tested my FRS hand held at intervals back to my house, until I was about 400 yards from my house when I eventually made commo with her. I have made an intentionally decision not to routinely carry one of our VHF radios, but now may have to re-look that.

An additional benefit from determining a new vehicle route on the fly is that this route now becomes my primary foot route as it provides more cover and concealment, and hole-ups places. Not to mention water sources at both the park and golf course. My lesson learned from all this to practice what I preach,…..develop a PACE plan AND rehearse the damn thing to determine possible holes and necessary changes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Insurance Guys Planning and Prep

I received this e-mail: "Urbanman, Just wanted to drop a short note to you. My best friend and I have an insurance business. It’s just us, two desks, small office. We do a lot of our business over the phone or on-line. This makes for time to discuss our planning and preps and time to research sites on the internet. We also have an information age network marketing business which we can also run simultaneously with our main insurance business. We have thought about closing down our office to save rent and utilities and think the savings would probably make up for the loss of the walk in traffic, but decided against it for now. We had some plumbing problems which required the taking down of a cinderblock wall in the back. We made a deal with the leaser for us to do the repair work. We turned the wall into a hidden storage of food and supplies. Not a ton of it, but probably two month’s worth for four people. Our wives are pretty close but not necessarily into prepping like we are. We have taken them to the range to train them, but it is a pain in the ass to get them to shoot anything other than handguns. Shotguns? Fageddabouit. Here’s the scoop. We shoot paintball and took our wives to watch one day. They wanted to try it and now they LOVE it. The shooting training that we wanted to do with them with real guns but couldn’t we are now doing with paintball. We are teaching them how to work as a team and use the obstacles. Sometimes it’s boys versus girls. I know it’s paintball but I think we are getting our wives better prepped maybe other guys are having problems getting their wives or girlfriends involved as this may be a way."

UrbanMan comments: Good for you guys making it as small businessmen in several different endeavors. Wouldn’t it be great to have a larger company, say 30 to 40 workers who all thought alike and prepped? That’s a ready made SHTF Task Force.

As you found out the real benefit is the time you have to plan and control over your lives....being your own bosses. Also, great thinking out the walled cache site. It would be interesting to know how your office fits into your Surviving the Collapse plan such as being a tentative safe site or dedicated Bug Out location, or simply if your cache supports your ability to remain in place if/when a hostile environment makes it impossible to go home.

Cool beans on getting your wives involved in paintball. I have only done a very small amount of it, but can see how it may be attractive to participate, especially for your wives who can now play with their men. Since you have the chance of getting hit with a stinging paint ball, learning to use cover and learning coordinate team oriented fire and maneuver are necessary skill sets for surviving the collapse.

I have always suggested for guys who wives did not like shooting big bore guns, was to try and get them involved with events like rimfire competition. This would teach firearms safety and core weapons handling competencies as well as basic marksmanship.

Good luck to you and your families.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Survival Gardens - More Comments

UrbanSurvivalSkills. received the following on e-mail,....."Hey UrbanMan,really liked the article on Survival Gardening and the lessons learned. Here is what learned from my survival gardening and what helped me format my food stockpiling:.

Seeds. Quality of seeds are very important. Ensure you store them in a controlled manner.

Planting. Ensure the soil and planting location is prepped to control waste of water (important if and when the collapse hits and water sources may not be reliable). Make sure you cull the plants as they come up so you keep the strongest plant of that species otherwise they will compete with each other. Don't plant too close together. I planted my corn way too close together this year and the stalks are not growing very tall.
UrbanMan comment:. Yeah I planted too close together as well.

I also planted new vegetables every 2 to 3 weeks. I am only planting two or three plants at a time because of my limited space in my backyard.

Types of Crops.. Tomatoes, black squash not yellow, potatoes, onions and cucumbers were easy for me to grow. Corn was okay, but (again) too close together. I am know enjoying a piece of fresh vegetable almost every day! I am know buying more brown and white rice, and dried pasta so I'll always have something to make with my vegetables. Canned soup goes further when you can add a piece of fresh vegetable to it and it tastes much better!.

Container Growing. Any containers have to have the ability to drain, so consider this. A a few nail holes in the bottom of the container go along way to drainage and not rotting the roots.

I hope this helps your readers. I am so glad I planted crops this year as I have learned so much. I think people who buy those pre-made SHTF tins of seeds but have never grown anything are going to be in for a surprise and not a good surprise.

UrbanMan comment: I agree with the need to "practice" growing crops if you have never done so. I also think that the Survival Planner would probably be better of customizing his own survival seed stock or at least augmenting store bought survival seed kits by figuring out what grows best in his area and buying those non-hybrid seeds from a reputable source. Gurney's Seed and Nursery is one of the sources I like. They also offer growing information, supplies and growing aids as well as a free newsletter.

There are a lot of celebrities (radio and news) pushing the idea of stocking food; hardly any of them talk about Seeds for Survival Gardens. What are you doing to do when the food runs out?

Stay Safe All. Cheers, Urban Man.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Buggin In,....May Be the Best Choice

Received a comment from Anonymous about Bugging In: "I like this idea of bug-in, and think it merits more thought than most survival sites give it. The biggest problem with bugging in as you state is limitations on food/water and concerns with armed gangs. Where I live in NW suburbia, water is not an issue. For a homeowner, there really is no storage limitation on food, meds and bullets
- just how much you want to spend. I live in a neighborhood with folks I know and trust already. Rather than cart the family off to the hills and realistically face a lot of issues with mother nature and the people who got there first, my plan is to bug-in also. We'll arm the neighbors and plan for a 1-yr stored-food scenario. "

UrbanMan replies: As much as I am planning on Bugging In, I also have a Bug Out Plan, fact, several plans and locations depending upon the situation and the threat. Of course, you are right in unless you have a lot of resources to stock Bug Out locations, the plan of Bugging In allows for the Survivors to stock a great deal of supplies and equipment,......unless you live in an apartment.

Bugging In, also requires some factors to be in place:

Away from refugees natural travel patterns for obvious reasons, and I would also be concerned about

a close proximity of jails and prisons. One of my clients lives in a sub-division next to a large country jail that houses about 1,200 prisoners. This is not a good thing.

Having knowledge of your neighbors; building rapport with them; and creating a semblance of a team, as survival is a team sport. A neighborhood watch program is a good idea and that program can be used to "drip" survival or disaster prep to these neighbors. Also allows them to build trust in you and for you to develop credibility. People will be looking for leaders during a collapse.

Have access to water and have the resources to grow your own food. And how huge would it be for all of your neighbors to grow vegetables as well? You can grow a few vegetables and give them to your neighbors now, and perhaps interest them in growing food as well. Especially if they are on a fixed income (aren't we all?) where this will pay off starting right now.

Sounds like you have you head on straight and there are more of us who put stock in Bugging In than not. Cheers. UrbanMan