Practicing Your Preps

All the guns, ammo and equipment in the world won’t do you much good if you aren’t practiced and prepared to use it. I ran into this many years ago when we were transitioning into our current home. A strong thunderstorm rumbled through knocking out power across the area, no problem I thought as I had already brought the generator, but to my dismay the heavy duty extension cord that I would normally have used to power the refrigerator was not long enough to reach – fail. I thought I was prepared; generator, fuel, cord – but I had not tested the plan. If YOU have a generator, when was the last time you started it? Does it have gas; did you use a fuel stabilizer? The point is you need to test your preps periodically to make sure they will work in a crisis.

Recently I shared an article titled ‘Hey! That’s my water!’ in which the author tested their preps by turning off the water and the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned. Most people really don’t understand how much we take water and power for granted till it’s not there. Personally we have gone for days without power and tested our blackout preps, but I think I would have a really hard time convincing my wife to turn off the water! If suddenly the water supply stopped or was somehow contaminated, how long could you survive?

water 2

One area where I was lacking and I suspect I’m not alone, is in practicing with my firearms. I’m fortunate that I can practice safely on my property and avoid the range fees, but range time can be useful as well. Range time can help you smooth out your technique, dial in the sights or even get some professional instruction, all which are important. Some ranges actually have combat training which can be invaluable in developing your skills. Unfortunately I don’t have access to such a facility here so when I practice at home I like to work on those types of skills; shooting across your body, shooting on the move, etc. Practice, practice, practice; if you’re not properly prepared to use your weapon it might very well be used on you.

target practice 1

Being practiced and confident in your skills can turn a crisis into little more than an inconvenience.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

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Off-Grid Solar Project Update 5-08-17

Our little solar project just got a little bit bigger, ok, a lot bigger. We’ve been a little slow getting this latest update in place as the Solar Controller we ordered from Amazon literally took 6 weeks to arrive (slow boat from China?).

 New Charge Controller

So here it is: 4 new solar panels for a total of 8, another 12v 100ah GEL battery for a total of 3 (yes we need more) and a new 80 amp solar charge controller.

 8 panels

3 batteries

Yesterday was bright and sunny and gave us a pretty good picture of how well the system was performing. The (8) 100 watt panels (4 monocrystalline, 4 polycrystalline) produced about 677 watts during peak sunlight for an efficiency of about 85%. We ran our modem, router, PC, fan, and several lights for a full 24 hours as well as the dehumidifier for about 3 hours without draining the batteries below 70%. Today we will see if the system can run our 15 cubic foot freezer for the day under partly cloudy conditions.

If you are prepping for a bug-in situation, off-grid solar might just be for you. I’ll be posting a review of the individual panels as I have purchased from 3 different companies so stay tuned!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

American Blackout Revisited

With the spring storm season here and the very real threat of storm related blackouts I thought it might be appropriate to revisit Blackout the Movie. This film by National Geographic depicts what might happen should the US electrical grid fail due to a cyberattack. Personally I think it does a pretty good job touching on the reactions of different people to this scenario. The video is free to watch via YouTube.

Hope you find it useful.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

When Prepping Pays Off

Storms ripped through our area yesterday leaving thousands in the dark, but not all of us. I have to say I’m very proud of my wife as she executed the plan flawlessly. I was stuck at work 35 miles away when the storm took it’s toll, but she was ready. On my journey home I passed countless downed trees and darkened homes. I admit I was a bit surprised at how few homes I passed showed even a flicker of candlelight – most people were ill prepared for even such a common disruption of power. As I pulled in the driveway my wife met me at the porch with a flashlight, (she rocks) so I didn’t stumble in the darkness. Once inside I had to smile; she had our little LED lanterns strategically placed around the home, a few candles flickering in the main room, and a movie all lined up for me on the PC. Unlike our neighbors, our solar backup along with other preps, made this event a non-event. We were able to enjoy a meal, watch a movie, and go about our normal routine, (mostly anyway) as though nothing had happened. Although she’s always supportive I sometimes got the feeling she was a bit skeptical about my new solar experiment, but no more. We not only survived the storm, but while others sat in the dark, we were unscathed and even learned a lesson or two.

With our society so ill prepared for even common disruptions to normal life, can you imagine how they would react to a real SHTF situation?

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Lessons From the TN Wildfires – Be Ready to Run

Bug in vs. bug out as long been the debate amongst preppers and your answer typically was based primarily on where you lived. If you were city you bugged out, country you bugged in with those in the suburbs kind of in the middle. We have always planned to bug in and ride out any disaster that might befall us, however, watching the carnage of the Tennessee wildfires of 2016 has given us a new perspective. You can read about them here.

The wild fires swept through the area at an amazing rate catching many off guard and forcing them to flee with little more than the clothes on their back. Churches and schools soon became makeshift shelters, but those arriving had absolutely nothing – they were completely unprepared for what had happened. Some hadn’t even heard the news reports and fled only when the fires became apparent – scary thought.

Here in my part of Tennessee a local gun range began organizing a relief effort (along with many others across the State), but what were the needs? Aside from food and water which the Red Cross had delivered, they needed the basics:

  • Deodorant
  • Tooth paste, tooth brushes
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • Underwear, socks
  • Soap, shampoo

Personal care items that no one had time or forethought to gather before leaving, which brings me to my point. Aside from survival gear (here’s a link to an entire site dedicated to building a bug out bag), you should have a basic travel bag ready (mine stays in the car) in case you have to flee. Think if you were going away for a long weekend, what would you pack, and keep it light as you might actually have to carry it long distances. Being prepared is more than having a great stash of food and water or being able to function in a grid down situation; it’s being prepared for anything. How is your prepper journey progressing?

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Riots in the street – are you prepared?

With hoodlums rioting in the streets across America we thought it might be a good time to revisit our Top 10 items for any Emergency. So without further delay…

Water – you can’t live without it and you can’t have too much, also consider having a Water Purifier.

Food – basic canned goods along with other longer shelf life products can literally be a life saver. Check out our big incomplete list of items to store:

Medication and basic first aide – any prescription medication that you or your family need plus Baby Aspirin, Band-Aids, gauze, antibiotic creme etc…consider a small First Aid Kit.

Light – getting around a darkened house can be dangerous; a couple of good flashlights, LED Lantern and of course batteries will brighten any situation.

Heat source – particularly in colder climates, a small indoor-safe propane heater can be the difference between life and death when the power goes out.

Propane stove/grill – obviously not all food needs to be warmed/cooked to be edible, but having a camping stove definitely opens the menu a bit.

Fuel – usually becomes scarce quickly and your nifty stove and heater are useless without it.  Also, if you need to ‘bug out’ your vehicle is a lot more effective if it has fuel!

Radio – knowing what is going on in any emergency situation is critical for planning as well as for simple peace of mind. A good AM/FM radio is fine, but I like the Red Cross Hand Crank Radio that you can use to charge your cell phone with.

Firearms and ammo – it many disaster situations looting starts almost immediately; all the supplies you’ve stashed won’t do you any good if you can’t protect them. Please be sure to not only practice using your firearm, but make sure everyone in your family does as well.

Cash – cash is still king, at least for now. I don’t recommend hiding all your money under the mattress, but a few hundred dollars in small bills may buy you out of a jam. We keep a decent stash of cash at home, some in each vehicle as well as a few bucks stashed behind the old cell phone cover.

Yes, there a dozens of other items that could be added to the list, but for now let’s keep it simple. Regardless of what you’re personally preparing for these 10 items will give you a definite advantage over those who simply go through life chasing Pokemon and watching America’s Got Talent.

Happy prepping!

2 Women Battle Over Last Case of Water

We’ve seen desperate people turn violent in the aftermath of natural disasters before, but apparently some couldn’t wait for the hurricane to actually arrive. At a Wal-Mart store in Florida these 2 classy ladies battle it out over the last case of water (read here.) Now we can only guess as to how these two behave in the absence of a crisis, but it does demonstrate how quickly such a basic necessity as water, or the lack of it, can drive some to violence. I happen to believe that our increasingly fragile and government dependent society turns violent much more quickly than it would have in the past. My interactions with the public on a daily basis provide a unique perspective on just how thin skinned and self-important people have become and how quickly they lose control of their emotions. I recently had an elderly woman go on a profanity laced tirade simply because we did not carry a certain product that she had ‘seen on TV.’ Another ‘gentleman’ demanded the number of the Region manager as he spewed racial slurs, that I shall not repeat, because he felt he had waited in line too long. Touchy, touchy. People freak out if Facebook is down for 5 minutes, what would they do if the SHTF? And they wonder why I’m a prepper! Stay tuned for more updates on the Bunker Project.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!