Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Along Came a Sandy

Posted: December 11, 2012 by Sarge in Bugging In, Preparation
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My wife thinks I’m nuts. Her opinion is based on a large number of things, and I will concede that she has some valid points. She is convinced that I am one purchase away from hoarder status (I blame tv) because I tend to buy more of stuff than I need, and refuse to throw stuff away (who wouldn’t keep 3′ long sections of pressure treated lumber?). The addition of my prepping habit has not helped my cause (“you bought more ammo cans?”).

The whole issue changed faces recently. In the days leading up to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, we were told that our area could get some flooding, and possibly significant wind damage, which might result in days without power (which did happen in our region, but thankfully not at our house). My wife scoffed at most of this stuff, until about noon on the day the storm was supposed to hit us. The weather folks said we would be seeing high winds in the overnight hours.

I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if my wife, while doing her weekly grocery shopping, picked up a couple gallons of water. I also recommended that she ought to consider filling up the car with gasoline, just in case. On both of these points I caught some ridicule on her way out the door. While she was gone, I checked all of my flashlights (I have many, all part of my hoarding) to be sure that the batteries were good. I got out the candles I keep in the basement, made sure I had my Zippo filled with fluid, and generally prepped the house for possible high winds and power outages.

When my wife returned, she seemed a bit out of sorts. When I asked if she was okay, she said “the grocery store was a madhouse, and they were all out of gallons of water, so I had to buy bottles instead.” I asked why the change of heart, and she said that with everyone else seeming concerned, she got nervous. I think the whole prepping concept hit home for her for real when she heard about the gas rationing in the NYC area. She still thinks I’m crazy, but she has gotten a little bit more accepting of the whole idea.


When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks.  I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:

“Do not use cherry Jell-o.  Makes an atrocious color!”

“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”

Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages.  I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife.  Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been.  She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman.  There’s a reason they say “Military Wife:  Toughest Job in the Military.”

When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five.  She was a very stoic lady.

So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life.  The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems.  These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.

The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand.  It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.

I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!

Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith.  It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.

It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation.  Pretty badass.

So there you go.  My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!


Board Games

Posted: February 20, 2012 by boyscout556 in Preparation
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Yes, board games.  These will be some of the items I will pack in my bomb shelter when I finally have the time, money, and place to build one.  Lets face it, you can have all the food in the world, along with all the necessities for survival, but being stuck in a room the size of a hotel room will drive you crazy.  That is unless you’re like the guy from the movie rocketman.  Otherwise, you should think about packing some things to keep you busy: board games.  A deck of cards or three might be a good idea also, anything that will occupy you when you have no where to go and nothing else to do.   Although this all only works if you have friends, and lets face it if you actually have friends you wouldn’t spend all your money on a bomb shelter.  So, I guess, rethinking this maybe books would be better.   Either way, think about the down time you’ll have after the SHTF and figure out how you’re going to spend it without going insane.   I realize these wont be necessary in a BoB or BoV as surviving will be taking most of your time, and the rest should probably be spent resting.  But keep in mind that if you’re stuck somewhere, having something to do will make the time go a lot faster.  Surviving TEOTWAWKI is more than just having the supplies, it’s a mental marathon.

How am I supposed to decide if I need to bug out, or stay put and settle in?  I had no idea how to answer the question, so I did what I do at work all day anyway.  I made Excel spreadsheets.  Why the hell not.  First, I built a spreadsheet that calculates a value for bugging out versus a value for staying put.  My idea was that the higher value would be the right choice.  I used things that I thought might affect the decision, dealing with preparation, availability of resources, etc.  I then averaged them for two groups, the stay and the bug out.  I then divided them by another factor, based on relative closeness to a major population center, and number of people in that population center.  Lets be honest, cities are going to be absolute mayhem when SHTF (Think post Katrina New Orleans).  I filled out the spreadsheet for my values, and this is what I came up with.

Then, just toying around, I built a table, creating a score for distance vs. population, where a higher score is achieved the further you are from a city, and the smaller that city is.  I then created two graphs to compare the effects of changing either distance or population changes.  Check it out.

There is no science invovled in either of these.  I don’t give a shit.  If you want a copy of either to toy around with, or if you have suggestions on how I could improve either, shoot me an email at



I was thinking about condoms recently.  Dont ask me why, but I started to think about what you can use them for.  I know fornication is the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind, but they can be used for other things.  It’s true!  If you think about what a condom was originally meant to do (keep two fluids separate, looking at it from a scientific standpoint) you realize that it has a lot of applications.  Ever been pushed into a pool and thought “man I wish my “insert electronic device” here was waterproof”?  Well a condom can be used to keep small things dry.  Lets say you have a watch that you’re fond of, but you need to ford a river.  If you had a few condoms in your BoB you could wrap up your watch to protect it.  really anything smaller than, well you know, can be stored in a condom to keep it dry and actually on second thought condoms have an amazing amount of stretch.  I mean check out this video of a kid pulling one over his head:  You can store small fire arms in them to prevent rust or keep dirt out of the barrel of your rifle/shotgun.  Conversely if you need to keep something moist for some reason (I’m drawing a blank right now on something that needs to be kept moist other than cake, and I wouldn’t even go that far, but I suppose that you could do that experiment you do in first grade where you germinate some seeds in a bag except use a condom instead) it can be put into a condom for storage.  Condoms can also be used for water collection/storage.  Obviously they are not indestructible, or even particularly strong but they allow you to collect a sizable amount of water.  Condoms are extremely small and lightweight.  They can be easily stored and transported.  They are impermeable.  I mean really the uses are endless.  Laugh if you want but I going to keep a few with me.  And finally don’t forget to wrap you tool.

But really, don’t take my work for it.  Take his:

On a side note I suggest un-lubricated latex condoms, otherwise things could get messy.

I recently returned from a weekend ski trip with a few friends which reminded me of something.  It can get really freaking cold sometimes.  The conditions were lovely and it was a great time, but getting back to my point, by the end of the day, the wind was picking up and the temperature at least felt like it plummeted.  This made me think about my BoB and the clothes I have packed.  I realized that I’ve packed for the spring and fall relatively well, but if I had to take off now I would probably freeze to death the first night if I couldn’t keep a good hot fire going.  If I had to bug out in the middle of the summer, I would be carrying way more clothes than I would need and not nearly enough water.  With this in mind I think I will start checking the inventory list that Sarge suggested I make, and updating whats in my BoB based on the current season.  I suppose that this would be a relatively simple concept (as I just compelted a google search and came up with multiple posts about seasonal BoBs: (this one also gives a very good checklist for a BoB)) but I didn’t think about it until this last weekend.  Good thing the nothing hit the fan.  I would suggest checking your BoB for the correct  supplies about every two to three months, or when a drastic change to your local weather occurs.  Ensure in the summer you have extra water, lightweight clothes, and sun protection of some kind or another.  In winter extra warm clothes and blankets (I suggest those space blankets that fold down to the size of a thin wallet, yet somehow can keep you really warm) and definitely some form of fire starter.  Spring and fall you need clothes that are cool enough when you’re moving about during the day, yet warm enough to keep you comfortable at night.  Again going back to my Boy Scout days, wear layers.  They can be easily shed as you warm up, and then replaced as it cools down.  It’s also a lot easier packing many thin layers of clothing rather than a few bulky layers.  They can also be removed and replaced from the BoB as necessary for season changes.  Another thing I remember from Boy Scouts is that cotton kills.  The reason they said this was that cotton can absorb an absurd amount of water, and then it takes an enormous amount of energy to remove said water.  If you are wearing this soaking or even damp cotton, guess where that energy to dry it comes from?  That’s right, you.  Wearing fabrics like wool and polypropylene will wick the moisture away from you skin, keeping your energy loss to a minimum.  They also dry more quickly as they cannot hold as much water.  So with all that in mind I suggest you go check your BoB to ensure you’re prepared for the current weather and not the weather you would prefer.

So Many Choices

Posted: February 11, 2012 by boyscout556 in Weapons and Tools
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This post is dedicated to how i chose the current weapons in my arsenal: (By no means am i an expert in weapons, i just figured i’d share what i had with you)

I currently own a Smith and Wesson SW9VE (

Now a lot of people have issues with this handgun because it has a heavy trigger however that is how the trigger was designed as this gun does not have a safety.   I have put over 1000 rounds through it without so much as a hiccup.  I originally purchased this handgun over something else because the price.  When i bought it i got a 50 dollar mail in rebate so it only cost about 250.  It also uses the most common handgun ammo in the world.  Plus it just felt right.  I’m starting to look into a more concealable handgun, but havent found one i like yet.

On to the Shotgun i mentioned in my last post.  I purchased a 12 gauge Mossberg 500 Field/Security Combo set (  

This comes with both a 28″ field barrel and an 18.5″ home defense barrel.  The field barrel comes with Mossberg’s accu-choke system and three chokes.  This allows the field barrel to be used for a multitude of applications.  The home defense barrel is short, which allows for more maneuverability indoors.  The combo also comes with the pistol grip to replace the stock for home defense.  The price was right for 330, for what comes close to two firearms (at least in terms of uses).  I went with the Mossberg 500 over the Remington 870 ofter reading this post:  Justin outlines why he recommends the 500 over the 870.  He also wrote a good post about using shotguns for home defense weapons which i also recommend:

Finally I own a Sig Sauer SIG556 Classic SWAT (

This is a rifle, chambered in 5.56mm/.223.  It has a full quad rail system down its entire barrel, allowing it to be fully customized.  It also has a collapsible folding stock.  It accepts all standard AR-15/M-16 magazines.  I bought mine broken in (slightly used) and it came with a forward ergonomic grip ( and a red dot site.  This gun has been extremely reliable for me and I love it.  I’ve put almost 2000 rounds through it with one issue but its because i was cheap and bought cheap ammo which gummed up the chamber causing a casing to get lodged in the chamber.  After i rammed it out, cleaned the rifle, and stopped using exclusively wolf ammo (i usually shoot 20-30 rounds of wolf followed by 5-10 rounds of brass and it keeps the chamber from gumming up, at lest until i run out of Wold) i havent add an issue.  Truthfully the reason i bought is rifle rather than an AR is just that.  Its not an AR.  I like to be different.

So that’s my arsenal so far.  I’m by no means saying these are the best weapons for TEOTWAWKI.  They have been good, reliable, fun to shoot guns so far and that’s the only claim i make.

What makes up your collection and why?

Now for some pics of things that broke and I disposed of the fun way:


An Ipod I put a 12 gauge shotgun round through

A hard drive that I put multiple .223 rounds from the Sig followed by a 12 gauge shotgun slug through.

Ten Ways to Prep for FREE

Posted: February 9, 2012 by Barbie in Preparation
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Okay, so you’ve been making all these excuses for why you can’t prep for a disaster.  “I don’t have the space to store stuff.”  “I don’t have any money.”  “I’m freaked out by the idea of a disaster and I don’t want to think about it.”

Whining?  Not going to help you out in an emergency.  Preparing? Will. So, I present to you Ten Ways to Prep For an Emergency.  For Free.

1.  Learn. The more you can learn about survival, the more skills you can pick up, the better off you will be.  Plus, nobody can hold you up at gunpoint and steal your knowledge from you – it’s yours for life, or at least until Alzheimer’s sets in.  If you can’t afford to buy a bunch of canned vegetables, learn all you can about growing your own.  No cash for a fancy wood stove?  Learn how to make one out of an old oil drum.  There’s lots of ways to learn for free, but here’s a few suggestions to get you started:

Check out survival related books from the library

Read blogs (subscribe to this one, for example.  *hint* *hint*)

Take any training opportunites that come your way.  Are they giving fire extinguisher training at work?  Dont’ skip out on it.  Will you get free basic first aid training if you sign up to be a little league coach/scout leader/class chaperone?  Might be worth it.   Hang out with people who know stuff that you don’t.  Can you go hunting with a buddy and learn to butcher a deer?  Can you help a neighbor with some renovation work and learn how to do some home repair stuff in the process.  Do it.

Learn as much as you can, it’s one of the very best ways to be prepared.

2.  Plan.  All the supplies in the world don’t mean squat if you freak out when it hits the fan and forget what to do.  Make a plan and write it down – in detail – so when you’re totally panicked you know what you were planning to do.

3.  Practice.  Take that plan, practice it, and tweak it when you see flaws.  The best time to find out that your electric can opener will not open a tin of tuna in a power outage?  During a power-out drill, NOT during an actual power outage.  Can you imagine if you had a giant canned-goods fort in the house and starved to death because you couldn’t open it?  That would be a real bitch.

4.  Work Out.  You don’t need to shell out cash for an expensive gym, just get your ass off the couch.  Go running.  Ride your bike.  Practice carrying 5 gallon buckets full of dried beans up and down the basement steps.  If you can’t do it now, you won’t suddenly be able to do it in an emergency.

5.  Make friends with your neighbors.  Not only might they come in really handy when the sHTF and you realize you’re not as self-sufficient as you thought, you may also protect yourself from being sold out.  The neighbor who’s pissed off at you for letting your dog shit in his yard is probably going to be the one who squeals on you to big brother. You don’t want that.

Be a good neighbor.  Say hello when you’re both at the mailbox.  When you see the guy next door struggling to get his piece of crap car running, offer to help.  When your garden produces so much zuchini you think you’re gonna puke if you ever have to eat it again, take some to the guy across the street.  It’ll go a long way to have a strong community in place, before it all goes to hell.

Okay, okay.  Enough with the touchy-feely intangible crap.  What about the STUFF!?

Well, here you go…

6.  Craigslist/Freecycle.  Sure, there’s a lot of junk in those postings that people are hoping you’ll haul away for them, but you can actually find some things that would be handy in an emergency.  Here’s just a few things I’ve seen in the past few weeks on my local Craigslist Free Stuff board:


Cinder Blocks


Baby Formula

A Popcorn Tin


Dishwashers (if you have the space, they make great storage for a flood or hurricane, since they are sealed watertight)


Underbed storage boxes (when you finally get some canned goods, you’ll have a place to put them)

Pinto Beans

Chain Link Fencing

Hunting Boots

5 Gallon Buckets with Lids

I’m sure that occasionally other useful things such as backpacks, tools, and tarps become available as well.  Keep an eye out, and you may be able to get a good start on your preps for free.

7.  Samples.  It takes a little bit of work, but if you’re just goofing off on the internet anyway, you might as well get something out of it.  Find a few sample sites (my favorites are StartSampling and Sweet Free Stuff) and next time you’re bored, sign up for any free samples that might be useful in a crisis.  No, you’re not going to get a lot of anything, but hey – it’s free!  Besides, it’s always fun to open the mailbox and find something that’s not a bill. Here’s a few things I’ve gotten samples of in the past month or so:



Feminine Hygiene Products

Emergen-C Vitamin C Drink Mix

Dog Food

Who knows?  Any of these things might be useful when I start running out of stuff.

8.    Rewards Programs.  My personal favorite here is Swagbucks, but I know there’s others out there.  Basically, these sites award you points for doing stuff online, like voting on polls, taking surveys, and watching commercials.  The reason I love Swagbucks is because I can win points just for searching from their site (and the results are similar to those of a major search engine that will not be named, but here’s a hint:  it’s not Bing).  I’ve been using this for about a month now, and I just cashed in some Swagbucks for a $10 gift certificate to, which I promptly used to buy a four-pack of Mylar Emergency “Space Blankets”  and a bunch of P-38 can openers.

9.  Friends and Family.  No, you don’t have to tell them what you want the stuff for (remember your OPSEC), but you can always put the word out that you’ve been hoping to find a _________________ for a project.  Who knows?  Someone might just know who’s trying to get rid of one.  Plus, there’s all that “one man’s trash” stuff that might just be your treasure.  I know people who have asked their coworkers to bring in:

Cat litter pails

Plastic Shopping Bags

Coffee Cans

10.  Keep your eyes peeled.  When I was a kid, it humiliated me to no end when my dad would pull over on the side of the highway to pick up something that had fallen off someone else’s vehicle.  Last week, I did this myself for the first time – I saw a 17 gallon Rubbermaid tote laying beside the interstate, and I couldn’t help myself.  I was a little freaked out – I mean, what if there was a duffel bag full of heads in there?  Thankfully, it was empty.  And I just saved $8.  Other things I’ve seen, but not stopped for include:

Bungee Cords

5 Gallon Buckets


Rakes and Shovels

Basically, if you can picture it loaded in the back of a work truck, you’ll probably see one beside the road at one time or another.

So there you go.  Ten ways you can get ready for disaster… for free. I don’t want to hear any belly-aching about how you can’t get prepared because you don’t have any money.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog (via email or RSS) because in the near future, I’ll be posting 100 Ways to Prep For a Dollar.

How Prepared am I?

Posted: February 8, 2012 by boyscout556 in Preparation
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Today I started to evaluate how prepared I am for TEOTWAWKI.  I realized I’m fucked. Although I already have a rifle and will be adding a shotgun to that in the next few days, that’s about as far as my preparedness goes.  I currently don’t have room to stockpile supplies (I rent a room from a friend and he already thinks I’m nuts because I just bought a shotgun).  I also realized I have an issue knowing when something is required, and when i just want it really badly.  Let me demonstrate:  My computer died on me over the weekend.  No big deal since I still have my netbook (hence this post).  I still felt the need to replace the computer right now rather than waiting a few weeks, to make sure I really need it.  Sitting at work today pondering my new computer purchase I realized that I have large impulsive tendencies that I have trouble controlling ( hence the reason I am now getting a new shotgun and new computer).  Now its not like I cant afford both purchases, its just that I really didnt need to make both purchases in the same week, or probably even month.  I guess this whole situation is a good thing because it shows me a glaring issue in my preparedness, which I can now address, and start being more prepared for whatever happens to come next.  The point of this whole story is to show, just because you have started to hoard supplies and have a great BoB and BoV, doesnt mean you’re really ready for TEOTWAWKI.   It just means you have more stuff.  Your mindset has to be such that you can actually survive after the SHTF.  I need to work on this big time.  You might want to attempt a self evaluation.

Think you don’t have the cash to prep? Quit making excuses and come back tomorrow for Ten Ways to Prep for Free

Evacuation: The next step

Posted: February 5, 2012 by boyscout556 in Evacuation
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OK, so you made it out alive and in good shape.  The BOV is running like a champ, loaded with a few months’ worth of food, the family, fido, some extra fuel, and enough guns and ammo to take on Belgium.  You even managed to get out of the immediate area of the SHTF.  Now what?

Just because you have all the equipment and were even able to get away with it doesnt mean you’re home free.  Now you need somewhere to go.  This is where it gets hard.  Do you head to great aunt Mimi’s house in Pokipsy, or out into the forest?  Some of you may be better preppers/survivalists than I, and already have a cabin in some remote location in  woods, with your bunker, and a few years worth of food, and all the other equipment.  If which case, good for fuckin you, why arent you writing this and letting me learn?  But you better hope your Opsec was air tight or you might find someone that was just a little faster and is ready to defend what used to be your homestead to the last man.  In which case, you better have a back up plan.  For the rest of us that dont have a Bug-out Location (BOL), whether prepped by us or someone else, we need to have a plan.   Any plan is better than nothing, so you might as well start thinking about it now.  And truthfully I dont have a fucking clue as to where to go currently.  But I just thought of a way to remedy that.

I suppose the things to look for in a BOL are seclusion, easy access to resources, like water, food (whether it be hunted, gathered, of cultivated), defendablility, etc.  Well what better way to find someplace like this then start camping with the family.  Rather than taking your lard ass to someplace like the beach where you’ll put on a bathing suit that really shows off your back hair, and makes everyone else dry heave until they pass out, pack up some of you survival gear, go out in the woods, and practice your skills.  You can start to get a taste of surviving off the grid.  Better yet start backpacking with only your BOB.  It will allow you to test out how well you’ve packed it, get you used to carrying it, maybe show you why the gym might not be a bad idea.  Plus it will give you the chance to start scouting for a good BOL.  I would suggest a large forest, where you might find some wildlife and more of that nature shit.  And after you find your location, for the love of God, don’t go posting on Facebook how you just found the best BOL and these are its latitude and longitude.  Keep it to yourself, or maybe let your family in on it but make sure they wont go blabbing about it.  Better yet find a few different locations that can all be used, and rank them on their best attributes.  This way you have some options when the SHTF.  So for all of you that thought “Oh, I have everything i need to survive and a way to get out of dodge to boot” always remember, just because you can leave doesnt mean you have somewhere to go.