Urban Survival: The Most Important Skills and Gear Might Not Be What You’d Expect

By Terry Trahan

In prepping for an urban survival situation, there is a lot of misinformation. And it is all due to the fact that there are no easy answers. There is also a huge misunderstanding of what happens during these events. It is a popular trope that cities will turn into urban wastelands replete with Mad Max-style gangs rampaging and plundering. Or that the cities will become filled with government death squads, opposing militias battling it out in the streets, and poor huddled masses living in sewers eating rats.

Look at history

As a great eye-opener, I would recommend reading everything you can from Selco on this website. He gives an amazing breakdown of what really happens in a city during a war, ethnic struggle, and the aftermath.

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But, barring some horrendous occurrences, it is highly doubtful that this will be the case everywhere in this country. It may come close in some areas, and other areas may not be challenged at all.

One of the measures I use to prepare and check my preps are family stories. My maternal grandmother (Oma), and her family grew up in Germany during the Third Reich. They underwent the wartime depredations, and Oma would tell me stories about that time. My maternal and paternal grandparents from the US also grew up during the Great Depression, and also would share stories and tips from then.

But we don’t even have to go that far back. I have been fortunate enough to communicate with people from Argentina during and after their financial crisis, as well as people from Venezuela, South Africa, and elsewhere undergoing hardships we haven’t been exposed to.

So, as I said in my last article, we have to best prepare for what is most likely to occur to us. In self-protection terms, one of my teachers uses the saying; “Train to handle what happens most, and you’ll be able to handle most of what happens”.

I take this and apply it to my Urban Survival Escape & Evasion (USE&E) training as well.

The most important urban survival issues may not be what you’d expect.

 In our first installment we will be looking at what I consider one of the top two issues we need to prepare for, not just for SHTF, but every day.

This may seem shocking, but I will not be addressing fighting or weapons as the most important thing. Not E&E or escape from restraint.

No, we will be addressing first aid, trauma care, the need for training, and a primer on gear to carry and stage to have in a life-threatening situation.

First off, you are more likely to use any first aid/trauma med skills and gear than any other skill you have. And far more than shooting or fighting. In my opinion, the only skill that gets used more is defensive/evasive driving.

Start with training

If you haven’t yet, I would highly recommend you start off with training from the Stop the Bleed program. This is free training usually provided by Emergency Responders/Firefighters in cities large and medium, as well as at hospitals or schools in smaller communities across the country. In these classes, you will be taught the basics of bleeding control using the established protocols of direct pressure, wound packing, and tourniquet use.

This training is gold. It is appropriate for young teens through senior citizens. The presentation is information-rich without being boring.

After taking the StB class, hell, take it a couple of times, I would then look into taking classes from the American Red Cross. They still offer training in a wide array of first aid skills, including basic and advanced first aid, water safety, CPR, AED, and much more.

After you take these classes and practice the skills you learned regularly, you will be a giant asset to any group you are in, and better equipped to help in a wide number of situations and emergencies that may occur.

If, after this basic training, you want to go further, there are several very good training courses for everything from austere long term medical care, trauma care, ditch dentistry, field surgery, and scenario training for care under fire. You can take this as far as you wish, depending on your interests, and what you foresee happening in the particular area you are living in.

Get the appropriate gear for your skillset.

Once you get training, then it is time to look for appropriate gear for your skillset. Kits come in all sorts and sizes, made for different applications.

A word of warning: this is an area where you do not want to cheap out. The number of times we have seen counterfeit TQs (tourniquets) fail in training or testing is frightening. Cheap first aid kits may include expired or inferior components. When dealing with an actual medical situation or life and death, you want your gear to be accessible and to work when needed.

There are three types of kits we need to look at, as they all cover different areas of use. These three types are Boo-Boo kits, First Aid kits, and Trauma kits.

Boo-Boo kits are for treating small wounds, cuts, minor burns, some minor ailments like diarrhea, motion sickness, headaches, blisters, etc… It is to make things more comfortable. These kits should include basic items such as a variety of band-aids, pain medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, Benadryl, burn gel, nausea relief, sting relief, moleskin, and things like this. As I said, it is more for comfort and treating of minor wounds and owies.

Next up the scale are first aid kits. These can have Boo-Boo items also, but will add on to that with things like rolled gauze, gauze pads, wound dressings, splints, some will include things like cervical collars and other more advanced gear, depending on the intended use of the kit. Some of mine include items that you should only use with proper training, like sutures, forceps, clamps, IV kits and other such things. These items are usually included in field surgery kits but can be useful after proper training.

Now, onto the meat of my daily prep/carry, and gaining in popularity in the gun/sd/prep/EDC crowd, trauma kits. These are small, purpose-driven kits that cover the most common causes of death in a trauma situation. The core of a good trauma kit will be blood loss stopping equipment, which is why I first recommended the Stop the Bleed classes. You will be much better prepared to use these items. First in these kits, we will discuss the TQ (tourniquet).

Please make sure that your tourniquet is a real, not counterfeit TQ, such as a CAT, SOFTT-W, or RMT. Avoid the bungee style wannabe TQs such as the RATs or STAT. They do not achieve good enough occlusion to count on. You only want the best when life depends on your gear.

Next will be compressed gauze of some sort, Kerlix or another variety, for use in wound packing, You want at least 4 yards of gauze, and as a little starter, it is good to tie a knot in the end before you start packing the wound. Some kits include one, or you can buy an individual Israeli Battle dressing or IzzyD, which is a pressure dressing/wrap. It can be used as a secondary TQ also and is a very versatile piece of gear.

Another item frequently included is a blood stopper gauze, the two most popular being QuikClot and Celox. Both are great for dealing with arterial bleeding in junctional areas that cannot be effectively TQd. Do not worry about the reports of exothermic reactions. That was earlier generations of the product, and besides, burns or death is a pretty easy choice for me to make.

The final item that should be in your trauma kit is chest seals to treat tension pneumothorax, or sucking chest wound.

Your mindset is the most important part of survival.

 As I said, the first part, the most important part, of this equation is the mindset to survive and prevail, second, training, and then the gear. This ties in with the Tactical Pyramid that we will touch on in future articles. And this is not an exhaustive list of the gear available, it is just a list of the most common, and necessary items for the kits involved.

As always, I welcome any questions or comments and can make better recommendations for training courses and specific gear if you would like.

Thanks for reading.


Terry Trahan has been a long-term martial artist and teacher of personal protection, as well as an author for numerous publications. His experiences from being a gang member, enforcer, protection specialist, and bouncer have given his teachings a strong bent towards the practical. Fighting his way out of extreme poverty and some unsavory environs also gives him insight into survival and everyday life not often commented on. He can be contacted at terry.trahan at gmail.com

This article was sourced from The Organic Prepper.

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Bread Making Options When You Have NO YEAST

By Mac Slavo

Much to the dismay of preppers everywhere, yeast does expire.  It loses the ability to make bread rise, as it’s a living culture.  You can get it to last about a year or more in the freezer, but since it isn’t great for long-term food storage, alternatives to making bread should be made.

It isn’t that difficult to make bread without yeast, but you need to understand your options and prepare your food stash accordingly.  Personally, I like to practice too.  It’ll help you know what method you prefer and which changes can be made to the recipes to be more palatable for your needs.

SOURDOUGH – The first thing I would try to make is sourdough bread. Sourdough is bread with “wild-harvested yeast”, meaning that it’s yeast you can grow naturally at home.  Sourdough bread takes practice, but there are several great guides out there. You can keep your starter going and your yeast alive all the time, so you’ll never run out. You can also buy starter if you don’t feel like making it from scratch.

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Baking Soda ONLY – If all you have on hand is some baking soda, you can make what is often referred to as “salt-rising bread.” This the bread pioneers on the Oregon Trail made often.  The salt was saleratus, or what today, most closely resembles baking soda. Give this one a try! Unfortunately, this isn’t a great option for those with any kind of sensitivity to dairy.  Most recipes call for milk or buttermilk.

Baking Powder ONLY – If you have some baking powder on hand, you can make bread using it as a leavening agent. You can make some pretty good biscuits and cornbread using baking powder. The Augason Farms Biscuit Mix, right, has no leavening, meaning that you will need to add leavening to make your biscuits, but can do so with baking powder. Cornbread mixes also require baking powder. Once you make the batter, you can also make muffins.

Bread With Baking Soda and Baking Powder – These breads will have no yeast, but require both baking powder and baking soda. Try Irish Soda Bread.  Mixes can be purchased at most grocery stores and online and the flavor is not too bad!

Unleavened Bread – unleavened bread, such as tortillas and flatbreads are made without using rising agents at all. Try making hardtack or matzo. Matzo resembles a cracker, much like hardtack. It’s made generally only of flour and water (the flour is barley, oat, rye, spelt, or wheat). Here’s a great recipe showing how to make a homemade Matzo (sometimes also called Matzoh).

These options for bread when you have no yeast should be a great place to start! The important thing is to experiment with making these types of breads so you know what you personally prefer.  While you should probably still store yeast, it is important to realize that it has a fairly short shelf life, so knowing how to make some tasty bread after the SHTF will be beneficial for helping you stay satiated.


This article was sourced from SHTFPlan.com

Image credit: Pixabay

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Why NOT To Store Rice In A Used Soda Bottle & Alternatives For Storage

By Mac Slavo

Preppers sometimes make mistakes.  I know I have! It’s a learning experience for certain! For the most part, prepping mistakes are difficult to make, but this one seems popular: storing rice in a used soda bottle.

There are several reasons why this is a bad idea, but there are also alternatives to the problem. Reusing soda bottles for food and water storage is more misinformation than anything, but it is a dangerous concept and one that keeps circulating on the Internet. Here is why you should NOT use a used soda bottle for food storage:

  1. Bacteria – Bacteria can grow in a used soda bottle.  Sure, you could TRY to sterilize the bottle first, but the plastic is likely to melt before all of the bacteria and other organisms can be killed off. Warm soapy water can help, but it also might not be enough.  Canners understand this, as botulism is of the utmost concern.  No one wants to get sick from eating the food you’ve stored for when the SHTF.
  2. Leaching – even if you are successful at completely sterilizing your plastic bottle, said bottle will leach into the food you’ve stored in it. Soda bottles are far from high-quality plastic and the chemicals in the soda have likely already started breaking down the plastic.  This process won’t stop when you put food for consumption in one of these bottles.
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But, the good news is that the solutions are fairly easy and inexpensive. Obviously, it’s better to store your food in a used soda bottle than not store food at all, however, consider attempting to keep your food in something other than BPA-laced plastic. Some options are:

  1. Glass Containers – these can be boiled for long periods of time making complete sterilization possible.  They won’t degrade or break down when scrubbing with soapy water and steel wool. There’s a reason why canners and preppers choose glass, and while it may cost more, it can be sealed off and you can prevent any contamination. Those living in earthquake zones though should consider something else, as glass is easily breakable. 
  2. Mylar Bags – these are perfect for those who live in earthquake zones. Mylar bags are ideal food storage containers because they keep light from reaching your food. With the help of oxygen absorbers and a plastic food-grade bucket, you can keep food stored for upwards of 25-years in mylar bags. The nice thing too is that you can divvy up your supplies into small portions. This has the advantage of keeping vermin segregated if they get into your stores.
  3. Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is the safest alternative for replacing a plastic water bottle. I use them to store leftover food in the refrigerator as opposed to plastic.  Not only does stainless steel resist stains, but it also has antibacterial qualities, making it an excellent option for food storage. It’s also not breakable like glass, but it is likely to cost you more.

Don’t make this common mistake when prepping.  Make sure your food is stored as safely as your budget will allow.  Not much will be worse than getting sick during an emergency.  Save those used soda bottles for mosquito traps!


This article was sourced from SHTFplan.com

Image credit: Pixabay

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CO Poisoning: The Hidden Danger of Emergency Heaters

By Graywolf

I previously wrote about how to survive a winter storm at home in case your power goes out, which has some great overall information in it to help you prepare, but I realized I’d missed something important and thought I should address it in its own post – the danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and what you absolutely need to know about it.

A few days ago, Colorado hit the lowest recorded temp in continental US history at -32F. We’ve also had a couple of really bad storms blow across the US already this winter and several people have died. In many emergencies, such as this, you need to rely on emergency heating, and if you don’t have the right heater or setup, there is a real danger of getting carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) vs. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

So a lot of people first get a little confused because they think CO is harmless because that’s what we breathe out, right? Actually,  no. We breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2), not CO. CO2 is what plants use to convert to sugar and oxygen during photosynthesis and is a by-product of complete combustion (burning). CO is a byproduct of inefficient burning and is extremely dangerous.

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According to the CDC, over 400 people die in the US alone every year and over 50,000 people go to the emergency room for CO poisoning. One note here: the death rate around the world is MUCH higher than that, due to hospitals here being able to recognize and test for it so they can treat people before it’s too late.

Your body can take in a lot of CO2 so even though it’s not impossible for it to be dangerous, it’s extremely rare. CO, on the other hand, does bad things to your body. I’m not going to go into deep scientific detail here since most of you just want to know what the danger is and what you can actually do about it but essentially, CO binds with the hemoglobin of your blood easier than oxygen does, so it basically starves your body of oxygen.

It’s so effective that CO poisoning is a very popular method of suicide around the world, in no small part due to the inaccurate representation of it being portrayed in the media as being painless. It’s not, btw. Here are some common symptoms:

  • aches and pains
  • headaches
  • weakness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • balance problems
  • memory problems
  • unconsciousness

Basically, CO2 = good, CO = bad.

What Heaters Cause CO Increases?

Basically, any heater that burns something (coal, propane, whatever), can cause CO output and put your life in danger. This includes:

  • fireplaces
  • wood stoves
  • gas appliances
  • kerosene heaters
  • charcoal grills
  • oil, propane or gas furnaces

Basically, if it burns some kind of fuel and isn’t properly ventilated to the outside world, it can be a problem. The heaters listed above are most likely safe, as long as you have some sort of sensor to tell you in case of a leak.

How to Safely Heat Your Home in an Emergency

The simple answer would be to just use something that doesn’t produce CO but that’s not always practical, especially in an emergency.

There are essentially two ways to increase the safety of using an emergency heater (or any heater) indoors: use a heater that doesn’t produce large amounts of carbon monoxide, or try to ventilate one that does and use some kind of sensor or alarm to tell you if the CO is rising to dangerous levels.

Here are some heaters that don’t produce CO to large amounts indoor:

  • electric space heaters
  • oil-filled heaters that do not burn oil (which are typically electric)
  • sealed, ventilated units that send or keep all gases outside
  • catalytic heaters such as the Mr. Heater*

*Just a quick note, I spent a year living on a sailboat in North Carolina, where it got so cold (minus 17 without wind chill) that the river froze solid for weeks. Even though sailboats have terrible insulation, I kept warm using mostly a Mr. Heater Buddy and an electric heater backup. The electric one wasn’t very reliable and obviously didn’t work when there was no power to connect to. Because the Mr. Heater wouldn’t last all night on high with the small green canister (and I didn’t like keeping propane down below), I connected a 20 pound tank to it from the cockpit using an adapter and long hose. Even though the Buddy burns propane, it’s considered safe for indoor use due to a low oxygen sensor, overheating sensor, and tipover sensor that will shut it down.

CO Sensors

In any case, one of the best ways to help protect yourself or your family from CO poisoning is to use a sensor. Your house may not have a CO sensor in it, and even if it does, it may not be sufficient to tell you the amount of CO in the room you’re sleeping in, especially if you’ve walled off parts of your home to conserve heat.

I’d suggest that you make sure you have a CO sensor in the room you’re heating in an emergency, and if that’s not possible, just buy one. They’re not that expensive. Also, something like this is dangerous enough that due to them being so inexpensive, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup. This one plugs in and has a battery back-up for double protection.

Also, if you’re going to be traveling to someone else’s house, especially something like a cabin or an Airbnb, you should bring along a portable CO sensor. (Here’s a 3-pack of portable sensors that take AA batteries.) In case you didn’t see it in the news recently, actress Anna Faris and her family almost died over Thanksgiving, all due to CO poisoning at an Airbnb rental in Lake Tahoe that didn’t have a CO sensor. I’m not sure what the underlying cause of the CO was but a functioning sensor would have helped a lot.

Keep in mind that some combustion heaters that are typically safe indoors may not be in higher altitudes due to the lower amount of oxygen available for combustion, and any externally-vented heater might cause problems if the ventilation is blocked. Also, it’s possible for something running outside to bring in CO if it’s too close to a window. In all these cases, a sensor located in the right place could help mitigate that threat.

By the way, this information goes just as well for camping, staying in a cabin or in some kind of improvised shelter. A portable CO sensor wouldn’t take up too much space or weigh much in your pack but could save your life.

Conclusion

Most people understand the fire risks of using a heater indoors during an emergency or just any cold weather and take necessary precautions. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the risks of death or serious injury due to carbon monoxide poisoning or how common it is. By using the correct type of heater, you can avoid exposure and poisoning but during an emergency, this isn’t always possible. Taking extra precautions such as assuring proper ventilation and using a carbon monoxide sensor will make things much safer for you and your family.


Graywolf is a former Counterintelligence Agent and US Army combat veteran. His experience as an agent, soldier and government contractor on assignments around the world gives him a unique perspective on the world and how to deal with it. His website is Graywolf Survival.

This article was sourced from The Organic Prepper.

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4 Inexpensive Items for The Prepper on a Budget

By Mac Slavo

For those of us on a budget, prepping is often relegated to the back burner.  But prepping doesn’t have to be expensive; and if you’re a beginner prepper, having these 4 cheap items in your gear or bug-out bag will give you a leg up in a catastrophic SHTF situation.

If you’re not a beginner prepper, these items are likely already in your supply. But if you’re just getting into preparedness, this is will be a good place to start!

1 – Water Filter

You will want a way to filter water if you’re forced to drink from sources such as a stream or a lake.  Tools such as the Life Straw work well and will be worth a lot more than the $20 they cost if things go bad in a hurry. A personal water filter like the Life Straw will provide at least 1000 gallons of water. The microfiltration membrane removes 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria (including E. coli and salmonella) and 99.999% of waterborne parasites (including giardia and cryptosporidium). It also removes the smallest microplastics found in the environment (down to 1 micron) and reduces turbidity down to 0.2 microns. Drinking clean water will be necessary for survival.

2 – Fire Starter

Starting a fire is a skill that can be made much easier with the use of a tool designed to get one built more efficiently. A traditional Ferro rod works well and is small enough and cheap enough that everyone should consider owning one. You can get a high-quality Ferro rod for about $16 and even find some cheaper ones out there.  Another bonus option to use in conjunction with the Ferro rod is soaking cotton balls in Vaseline. These will also make fire starting easier and are incredibly inexpensive to purchase.  (Put them in a sealed Ziploc bag after soaking in Vaseline to avoid a mess.)

3 – First Aid Kit

Unfortunately, we’ve all needed a first aid kit at some point and the S has not officially hit the fan just yet.  These are readily available at most dollar stores, but for a bit more quality and about the same price with more items, you can get one for around $16 with 299 pieces.  We have first aid kits of this size in all our vehicles, sports bags, and in each bathroom of our home because you never know what life has in store for you.  Just remember to replenish your first aid kit as you use the items, so it’ll be ready when things go south.

4 – Can opener and canned goods

If a grocery store in your area offers a “case lot sale” consider stocking up on canned goods at that store.  Obviously, these are heavy and not meant for a bug out bag but are still useful for situations like a major blizzard or floods where there’s no way to get to a grocery store for food.  But don’t forget a manual can opener! It’s hard to imagine, but I’ve met several people who have thousands of cans of food saved but don’t know where their can opener is located. As cheap as they come, I recommend having several on hand. I also recommend stepping up in quality, because this is a tool you could realistically be using several times a day. For about $12, you can get a pretty decent can opener and it won’t break the bank.

These are the first four items I’d suggest you obtain if you have just begun your prepping journey and are on a budget. This is by no means a complete list of everything you’ll ever need, and only you can decide what’s right for you, but we all started somewhere! And this is meant to frugally help you take the first steps!

This article was sourced from SHTFplan.com

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Image credit: Pixabay

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How a Quick Walk Turned into a 17-Day Survival Ordeal in the Hawaiian Jungle

By Daisy Luther

More than 2 weeks ago, the news was abuzz about Amanda Eller, a 37-year-old physical therapist/yoga instructor who took a walk in a Maui forest and never came back to where her car was parked. Theories abounded about Amanda because she’d left her water bottle, cellphone, and wallet in her car. People wondered whether she’d been kidnapped or murdered.

The official search was called off after only 72 hours, leaving the hunt for Amanda in the hands of thousands of volunteers who combed the forest.

The Makawao Forest Reserve is a 2000-acre area on the north side of Maui that is surrounded by even more thousands of acres of dense forest, steep ravines, lava rocks, and vegetation so thick that it often must be hacked with machetes to get through it.

There’s a lot we can learn from the survival stories of other people and  Amanda’s story also has many lessons. While I’ll point out a few mistakes, keep in mind that nearly every survival story begins with something going wrong. Amanda survived a situation many people could not, and did so barefoot and with a fractured leg.

How did she get lost in the first place?

Amanda told reporters she didn’t take her water or phone because she was planning only a quick walk. One thing Selco drummed into us during our course is that you don’t even walk across the street without a layer one that contains at the least some water purification tablets, a lighter, a whistle, a trauma bandage, and a knife.

According to news reports, Amanda intended to walk a quick three-mile trail. But when she stopped to rest, she got turned around and that was when things went wrong.

‘I wanted to go back the way I’d come, but my gut was leading me another way — and I have a very strong gut instinct.

‘So, I said, my car is this way and I’m just going to keep going until I reach it.

‘I heard this voice that said, “If you want to live, keep going”.

‘And as soon as I would doubt my intuition and try to go another way than where it was telling me, something would stop me, a branch would fall on me, I’d stub my toe, or I’d trip. So I was like, “O.K., there is only one way to go”.

‘The whole time I was going deeper into the jungle, even though I thought I was going back where I came from. (source)

Unfortunately, her instincts led her astray. Anyone who regularly walks in wild areas should learn the basics of navigation using the sun, or better yet a compass,  (You can get watches that have compasses built in. Be sure to calibrate your compass with a known accurate compass.)

How she survived

Amanda told reporters she hiked for about 14 hours the first day hoping to get back to her car. She was only wearing a tank top and capri pants. Temperatures in that area drop to about 60 degrees at night.

By day 3, she stopped looking for the trailhead and began searching for water. Generally, when you’re lost, water should be a resource you look for sooner due to the immediate risk of dehydration. This was the same day she fell off a cliff and injured her leg, fracturing it and tearing her meniscus. The following day, she found water indeed when a flash flood swept her shoes away. Now, injured and barefoot, she was not moving as fast, and she was crawling instead of walking, but the entire time, she was moving deeper into the jungle. From her hospital bed, she said, “I heard this voice that said, ‘If you want to live, keep going.”

She covered herself with ferns and leaves at night. She slept in the mud, and another night in the den of a wild boar. (It’s interesting to note that boars are the most dangerous wildlife on the island. Aside from boars, there aren’t any large predators.)

She ate wild strawberry guavas, berries, and moths for 17 days. Fortunately, she had learned enough about the local flora to know what she could safely eat. She stayed by a stream, from which she drank water.

But she was beginning to lose hope. “I was getting so skinny that I was really starting to doubt if I could survive,”

The rescue

Even though officials gave up on the search after 72 hours, the locals did not. Volunteer search parties combed the area near where Amanda’s car had been found.

Meanwhile, an army of volunteers turned seemingly every stone looking for her. They rappelled into ravines, searched caves, free-dove into pools and navigated fast-moving streams looking for Ms. Eller. Others killed aggressive wild boars and checked their intestines for human remains. At least one volunteer was attacked by a boar. (source)

A friend of mine in Hawaii joined the search and told me that the volunteers were searching miles and miles on foot, day and night, despite the lack of official support. Finally, by sheer good fortune, Amanda was out in the open when a search helicopter flew over.

Rescue workers had been combing the thickly wooded 1.5-mile radius around Ms. Eller’s car. But on a whim, the searchers in the helicopter on Friday decided to go farther, about seven miles from the central search area by air — the equivalent of 30 miles walking in such rough conditions, said Javier Canetellops, a search coordinator who was in the helicopter…

…On Day 17, Ms. Eller was near a stream searching for “some plant to eat for dinner and some place to sleep that wasn’t directly in the mud” when she saw a helicopter. She said she had seen and heard multiple helicopters fly above her during her ordeal, according to her friend Ms. York, but none had spotted her. This one did.

“I looked up and they were right on top of me,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and I just broke down and started bawling.” (source)

Here’s the footage of Amanda’s rescue.

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Rescuers say that Amanda was found in an extremely treacherous area, deep in H’aiku’ several miles above Twin Falls. She was immediately airlifted to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. In the following video, a rescuer described finding Amanda.

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Amanda had a lot to say about the volunteers who searched for her and about her “spiritual journey” while she was lost. Here’s her statement from the hospital.

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And, finally, this is a press conference held at the hospital updating us on Amanda’s condition.

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Amanda walked with a fractured tibia, severe sunburn, infected wounds in her lower extremities, and a torn meniscus. Miraculously, her doctor said she was well-hydrated when she was rescued and that she looks great. She did not contract any issues from drinking water from the stream. Physicians expect a full recovery.

Her doctor chalks up a great deal of her survival to the fact that she was very healthy and well-nourished before her ordeal.

What do you think?

When I heard about this story and a week had gone past, I certainly didn’t expect to hear a happy ending. In nearly every survival situation, mistakes are made. Amanda’s will to live helped propel her through what must have been a terrifying two and a half weeks.

Could you survive 17 days in the wilderness? What do you think of Amanda’s story?

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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5 (More) Foods That Last Forever

By Sara Tipton

When planning and storing food for emergencies or survival situations, we have long advocated incorporating foods that will last forever (or at least longer than you will). By doing so, this does double duty by boosting your emergency supplies, pantries, and your bartering power, as well as ensuring you are purchasing foods as frugally as possible.

Ready Nutrition - Bestselling The Prepper's CookbookIn The Prepper’s Cookbook, 25 must-have foods were explored in this best-selling book. These 25 foods are the foundation of your prepper pantry and used to make an array of foods. Eleven of those 25 foods were what is considered “forever foods.”

Today, we are going to explore five more foods to add to your forever food pantries; and, if stored properly, they will last forever. Best of all, many of them will serve multiple purposes beyond human consumption and this could give you a hand up should the SHTF!

5 (More) Forever Foods for Your Prepper Pantry

1. Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is actually not made by distillation at all, but made by the fermentation of the natural sugars found in either grains or fruit.  Those sugars are converted to alcohol and the alcohol is then fermented a second time and it turns into vinegar by the production of acetic acid after the fermentation of ethanol, sugars, or acetic acid bacteria. Vinegar typically contains anywhere between 5 and 20% acetic acid by volume and is currently mainly used as a cooking ingredient, or in pickling. The mainstays of the category include white distilled, cider, wine, and malt have now been joined by balsamic, rice, rice wine, raspberry, pineapple, chardonnay, flavored and seasoned vinegar and more.

Vinegar will slowly lose its concentration of acidity over time. The vinegar will absorb water from the air diluting its concentration of acetic acid. And over time, the acetic acid will break down or decompose leaving behind a less acidic product. Distilled white vinegar is perfect for marinades, sauces, and dressings, but because it will decompose and dilute itself, try to use fresh distilled white vinegar when pickling or making dressings, but those older gallon jugs of vinegar will work great as a cleaning solution. Distilled white vinegar is great to use to clean your house or add it to your laundry as a fabric softener! It is actually just as good at killing germs as bleach, according to a Colorado State University publication. Once 5% distilled white vinegar is heated to at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit it is as effective as bleach in treating Listeria Monocytogenes, E. coli, and Salmonella.

You can also use distilled white vinegar as a fruit and vegetable wash! Try using 2 tablespoons of the vinegar to 1 pint of water.  It is also great at removing lime stains from bathroom faucets.  Every few weeks or so, I use distilled white vinegar to run through my essential oils diffuser.  It acts as a cleaner and keeps my diffuser running great.

Its shelf life is almost indefinite.  Its acidic nature makes it self-preserving. To keep distilled white vinegar virtually forever, store in a cool dry area and keep a lid on tight.

2. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is powder made from the starch in corn kernels and generally used as a thickener for sauces and gravies in the kitchen. But it can be used for so much more, including cleaning and medicinal uses.

Cornstarch can be used to help cool off a sunburn. A simple paste of cornstarch and water spread over a sunburn soothes inflamed skin. This paste on insect bites and stings.  Use aloe vera gel instead of water to ramp up the soothing properties as well! Cornstarch will also help prevent chaffing. If you have sensitive skin and a tendency to chafe, simply dust a little cornstarch on your problem areas before dressing.

If you have a creaky spot in your hardwood flooring, try adding a sprinkle of cornstarch and then sweep. The superfine starch works itself into nooks and crannies, effectively stopping the noise.  It is also great at cleaning up greasy carpet stains! If you have a greasy mess on your carpet, simply pour cornstarch over it and let it sit for 20 minutes. The cornstarch absorbs the grease and freshens the carpet. Just vacuum the powder away! Cornstarch is also an amazing window cleaner.  Since its a super fine to the touch but naturally abrasive at a microscopic level, adding a tablespoon of cornstarch to your favorite window cleaner will make cleaning easier and leave a streak-free shine.

While cornstarch can go bad, that can only happen in very specific circumstances, so if you are willing to make sure it is stored properly, it will be perfectly fine for years.   If the powder gets wet, it will go bad.  It’s important to store cornstarch in a cool and dry place.  If cornstarch cannot absorb water, it will stay good indefinitely.

3. Distilled Liquor

Distilled liquor is also not only useful by can be stored forever.  It also has the added benefit of being a bartering tool, which comes in handy in the event of a societal collapse. The base liquors, such as brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey are typically the most stable distilled spirits because they do not contain any sugars. The more sugar a liquor has, the faster it will deteriorate. Bottles of base liquors can be stored for a very long time opened, although they may lose some flavor, they will keep indefinitely if they remain unopened.

When it comes to prepping, it is always important to keep in mind your trading and bartering power.  Distilled liquors can definitely give you an edge when it comes to bartering. Other than perhaps ammunition, there may not be a better item to store to ensure you’ve got something others will want than some extra liquor. Whiskey is a great option to store for bartering while vodka can be used as in first aid.

Liquor can be used not only as a way of keeping wounds free from infection but for keeping nausea at bay and or for making dental work more bearable for the patient.  Any liquor above 60% can be used as surgical alcohol and anything above 40% can be used to disinfect wounds for first aid purposes, not to mention medicinal tinctures.

4. Bouillon

Bouillon cubes generally contain enough salt to preserve them from spoilage, but the flavor (which, after all, is why you’re using them) may weaken, dull, and change over the years. But the bottom line is that they will last forever if they remain stored in a cool dry place!  Bouillon cubes are used to add flavor to foods and can be invaluable in your prepping supply. Since they contain high salt content, they will basically preserve themselves.

5. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup will also last forever if the bottle remains unopened and its kept in the cold. If you open the maple syrup, it can get moldy and its incredibly unpleasant to eat at that point. It will only last about a year after you crack open that bottle, so if you want to save it, put it in your freezer.  It will retain its flavor best and keep indefinitely when it’s stored in the freezer and don’t worry, it won’t freeze solid.

This article was sourced from SHTFplan

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Prepping Tip: How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood

By Mac Slavo

As preppers, we like to share important tips when we come across them.  One trick that could help us all immensely when the SHTF is knowing how to start a fire with wet wood: one of the most frustrating things on Earth.

When it comes to a SHTF situation, one of the most critical survival skills you can learn is how to start a proper fire. With this skill, you can cook your own food, dry wet clothes, warm yourself up, and even signal for help. Anyone who’s gotten a campfire going probably thinks they have it all figured out.

Let’s face it, it is rather simple: when we are wet and cold, we want to be dry and warm and we’ll need a fire to do that in an emergency. But making a fire out of wet wood isn’t the easiest thing to do. Even if you can get your tinder burning, the logs can stubbornly remain unburnt. So I’ve found a few tricks I’d like to share and maybe they’ll help the next time all you’ve got is wet firewood.

First, water usually only penetrates the outer layers of dead wood, so your best bet is to use a knife or hatchet to strip away the damp outer layer. You could also split the wood into smaller pieces exposing the dry inside. Once you’ve got your wood ready, employ one or some of the following and you should have a fire in no time!

Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly burn at extremely high heat and are a great low-cost alternative to commercial fire starters. Each ball will burn for about three minutes which is long enough to dry out the wet tinder and ignite it. If you try this, make sure you pack them in a sealed plastic bag.  They can get messy but are invaluable. Stock up on these! You can make about 200 of these yourself for under $10.

Steel Wool – This one is usually the most surprising and unknown. Steel wool is actually highly flammable and rather inexpensive. A few sparks from a Ferro rod will get a clump of steel wool burning at over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds. Steel wool also has the advantage that it can be lit electrically. If you rub the terminals of a 9-volt battery against the wool, it will heat to its ignition point in a couple of seconds.

Doritos Chips – Say what? Doritos chips are actually flammable. (It kind of makes you wonder what’s in them now, huh?) As it turns out, the chemicals, powdered flavors, and oil in the chips make the perfect combination for combustion. Almost any chip will do, actually, so if you dislike Doritos, don’t worry, experiment with chips you do like as most other chips are flammable as well. And if you get your fire started with steel wool or petroleum jelly soaked balls, you won’t need to light your chips on fire. You will have a crunchy snack to munch on as you warm up.

There are more options if you’re really in a pinch, but I chose to share these with you because of the low cost and effectiveness of them. Also, stocking up on all of these items is a good idea because they have several uses and could come in handy when the SHTF.

This article was sourced from SHTFplan.

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Image credit: Pixabay

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The Benefits Of Manuka Honey And Why You Should Consider Storing Some!

By Mac Slavo

Manuka honey is unique to New Zealand, and to obtain pure Manuka Honey is a specialized task for beekeepers. It’s produced by bees that pollinate the flower Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as the manuka bush, and its antibacterial properties are what set it apart from traditional honey, and why it might be a good item to store in your prepper pantry.

Manuka honey is more difficult to extract and has a limited harvest period as it is only collected at certain times of the year. The therapeutic applications of manuka honey are well understood by consumers around the world, thereby creating a continually high level of demand.

Honey doesn’t really expire as long as it is stored properly and not exposed to too much heat. If you choose a room temperature, dark spot, then your honey will be good for several years making it a decent food and medicinal product to add to your supply. There is no need to refrigerate honey unless you live in a hot climate. Consume manuka honey at room temperature, as heating it could destroy some of its wonderful properties.

Here are a few good reasons to consider grabbing some manuka honey!

  1. WOUND HEALING – Multiple studies have shown that manuka honey can enhance wound healing, amplify the regeneration of tissue and even decrease pain in patients suffering from burns. Manuka honey helps create an acidic wound environment, which favors healing.  Manuka honey has also been shown to be effective at treating wound infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains, such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It will also help create a more moist environment aiding in the healing process. Its most notable attribute is its effect on wound management and healing.
  2. SORE THROAT SOOTHING – Its antiviral and antibacterial properties can reduce inflammation and attack the bacteria that cause pain. Not only does manuka honey attack harmful bacteria, but it also coats the inner lining of the throat for a soothing effect.
  3. IMPROVE DIGESTIVE HEALTH – Digestive health is important all the time, but especially when you want the most out of your food, like after something catastrophic occurs. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is associated symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and irregular bowel movements. Researchers have discovered that regularly consuming manuka honey may help decrease these symptoms by improving antioxidant status in rats.

For most people, manuka honey is safe to consume. However, it is important that some people consult a doctor before using it, including:

  • People with diabetes. All types of honey are high in natural sugar. Therefore, consuming manuka honey may affect blood sugar levels.
  • Those allergic to honey or bees. Those allergic to other types of honey or bees may have an allergic reaction after ingesting or applying manuka honey.
  • Infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend giving honey to babies younger than one year due to the risk of infant botulism, a type of foodborne illness.

All things considered, manuka honey is likely an effective treatment strategy that may accelerate the healing process when used in conjunction with more conventional therapies.

This article was sourced from SHTFplan.

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How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack

By Daisy Luther

On March 5, a “cyber event” interrupted grid operations in parts of the western United States, but the hack was just disclosed to the public a few days ago. As of now, officials are not sure who perpetrated the cyber attack.

The attack marked a somber milestone for the US power sector: the unnamed utility company is the first to report a malicious event that disrupted grid operations.

“According to a cryptic report posted by the Department of Energy, the March 5 incident lasted from 9 a.m. until nearly 7 p.m. but didn’t lead to a power outage, based on a brief summary of the electric disturbance report filed by the victim utility,” E&E News reported on April 30.

Cyber attacks are a growing risk, experts say. Here’s what you need to know about them.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises, and networks. Cyber attacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cyber crimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think. Check out this real-time map for a look at the almost constant siege.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most businesses have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many businesses are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.



Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3. Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4. Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cards, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above halfway full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or one of these other options.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attack. Be prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.

What do you think?

So, let’s hear from the “hive mind” of the preparedness community. How likely do you think it is that we’ll be hit by a massive cyber attack? Was the event in March some kind of test run? What other effects do you think a massive cyber attack might have? Do you have any additional preparedness tips for such an event? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared.  She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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