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Monday, June 8, 2015

"4" Incredible Survival Uses for Empty Tic-Tac Containers

Read this before you throw out empty containers of tic -tacs.
These small, plastic containers actually have unique survival/camping uses.

Here are just a few.
You can use the containers for:

 - Storing spices: Don't take your entire spice rack. Simply load empty tic-tac containers
with your favorites spices and you'll be able to save tons of room.
 - Storing matches: Regular matchboxes can get soggy and fall apart. Store matches in
the containers and glue some sandpaper on the side and you're set.
 - Storing firestarters: Another unique use. Rub vaseline on cotton balls and store them
in the tic-tac container so you always have a quick way to start a fire.
 - Storing seeds: If you want to plant a garden, a tic-tac container will do a better job
of storing and protecting seeds than the packages they come in. 
And of course that's just a small sampling of uses.
Worried about the containers breaking?
Wrap them in some kind of tape to improve their strength. 
Clear packing tape works well.
Then just throw them in your camping kit or bug out bag and you're set to go. 

Pretty cool, huh?

What else can you think to use them for?

Prepare Now,
Survive Later!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You don’t need to be wealthy to prepare for an emergency

Since you’re reading this blog, you probably believe in preparing for an uncertain future. I sure don’t need to talk you into the idea that prepping for a worst-case scenario is a smart idea. You’ve already got that down.
Now, I don’t know if you are just getting started in this preparation business and need lots of tips and tricks, or if you’ve been at it for a long time and already have plenty of food, water and essential non-food items stockpiled in various locations.
So, what I’m going to tell you today will apply to the novice, the experienced and everybody in between.
The subject is, how to prepare on a tight budget. This will help those just starting out, as well as more experienced preppers who have to replenish their stockpiles now and then due to expiration dates. And even if you’re fortunate enough to have plenty of money stashed away, do you really want to pay more than you have to in order to be properly prepared? I don’t think so.
The main point I want to get across here is this. Don’t let a lack of funds keep you from doing the most important thing you can do, which is to make sure that you and your family can survive an emergency without heading off to a FEMA center. Once you’ve figured out what the most likely threats are in your area, prepare specifically for them. Start this way:
• Determine by yourself, or discuss with your spouse, how much money you can designate each month to acquire the necessities for your stockpile. Don’t be discouraged if it’s only a small amount of cash. It’ll add up over time.
• Make a priority list of what you should stockpile. At the top of your list should be drinking water, nutritious food with a long shelf life and crucial non-food items such as flashlights, batteries, crank-operated radio, etc. Proper storage is also essential.
• Spend time trying to get the highest value for your dollar. Shop around, but don’t sacrifice quality. I’d rather have one pouch of good-tasting, nutritious, long-lasting food than three pouches of garbage.
• Start small and build. You might be able to start filling your emergency storage bins with items you already have in your food pantry. Start with that can of pinto beans that doesn’t expire for several years. You might not have an appetite for it now, but you’ll be amazed at how good they taste when you’re hungry. Before long, you’ll have a nice, three-day supply of necessities gathered.
• Include barter items in your supply. Once you have the most important items stockpiled (food, water, non-food items), consider adding a few items that you might not necessarily use, but would be able to trade in a post-collapse society, such as coffee, diapers, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.
Do you have any strategies for prepping on a budget that you’d like to share? I’m sure readers would love to hear about them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Avoid Capture If You Are On the Jade Helm Red List

big bro
It is the latter days of summer and there’s not much excitement. However, one day stands out like no other. On that fateful day, you awaken to the news that the nation’s banks are “temporarily closed” because some terrorist group launched a cyber attack upon all of the major banks the night before. You instantly recognize the lie for what it is.
You have been preparing for this moment for a long time and you recognize this event for the false flag event that it is. You announce to your family it is time to go. You grab your “bug out bag”  and you drive 20 miles in the opposite direction from your intended destination as you enter an underground parking garage. There you are met by a trusted source. You transfer your bug out bags to their vehicle and leave your vehicle behind. Why did you have to drive to an underground structure? A satellite can be backtracked on your residence. It will detect your vehicle and the number of occupants leaving your garage and you can be followed. Driving in the opposite direction of your intended destination may confuse any search protocol which will be based upon your known associates based on the DHS FAST program which is described below. Entering an underground structure will make it difficult to track you. The number of vehicles who have entered the structure are numerous and the NSA computers will have trouble matching you to a known associate if you have not had cell phone communication with your intended getaway ally. Your cell phone is now your enemy. Most of us know about the Stingray program designed to track people as it is now available to local law enforcement. The NSA has much better tracking technology.
The people that you will be staying with, must be “friends of friends” because if you have had communication with these people, the NSA computers will predict who you will hide out with and you will end reliving the modern day nightmare of the Diary of Anne Frank. Remember, the NSA super-computers match known associates by email, cell phone and landline communications. If you have ever had a cell phone conversation or your cell phone has come within 10 meters of a person, that has been logged as a known associate.
You have been careful to leave ALL electronic devices behind. Before his death, the late A.C. Griffith, former NSA specialist, appeared on The Common Sense Show several times and discussed much of the tracking technology that was available to the NSA as of five years ago.
As you are driving to your rendezvous point, the radio broadcasters are telling you that all is well and that the banking chaos will be straightened out in a few days. However, you know the truth, the economy has collapsed and it is not coming back. And you also know that in the midst of the ensuing chaos, the Red List extractions which will be conducted by Jade Helm personnel, are imminent. They could take place in a day, a week or, on the outside, a month.
Waiting for you in the underground parking garage is a friend of a friend. You have made arrangements to stay with this friend of a friend because it is not likely that you can be tracked to their home. As your getaway vehicle departs the underground structure, nobody will be the wiser.

Cell Phone Precautions

All parties, connected to your getaway, have agreed to not have in their possession cell phones. Not only can they be tracked, they can be used to listen to your conversations even when the battery has been taken out of the phone. This backdoor was a NSA mandate dating back to the 1990’s, which demanded that cell phone manufacturers build in backdoors so that the devices could be used to spy upon high value targets. As you are making your get away, it might be best to lie down as you enter the new vehicle. Why? Have you ever seen a photo radar photograph? Your approximate location can be tracked by traffic cameras.
What about disposable cell phones? If you are in flight to evade capture, any cell phone in your possession is a risk. The NSA has voice print records on all Americans who have ever used an electronic device. The voice print is as unique and as identifiable as a finger print. If you speak within ear shot of the phone, your voice print can be instantly matched to the super-computers of the NSA and your location can be immediately pinpointed. Therefore, you new host family can never have a cell phone, or a landline phone within ear shot of you. The same is true for a computer as they are routinely listened to even in the off position.
Your electronic devices are the greatest threat to the continued freedom for you and your family. The good news is that you will not have to remain in hiding for very long. Most of my sources believe that “Red Listed” individuals will remain high priority for about 30 days. Why 30 days?

Phase Two: The Blue List

Under the cover of the chaos of an economic collapse, the middle of the night Red List extractions will take place. During this time cell phone and landline communications will be cut because the powers that be do not want potential resistance leaders to be able to warn each other. However, these extractions will not go unnoticed so Phase One will be immediately followed by Phase Two (Blue List enforcement) which will consist of targeting a second set of potential dissidents of lesser value. These will often include the modern day “Brown Shirts”.
It is likely at this point, that some in the military will question their mission and switch sides. Many in the militia movement will realize that the day of confrontations is at hand. Depending on how many soldiers and their units switch sides, we could see a civil war breakout at this point. Regardless of the depth of the conflict, once the shooting has started, most Red and Blue List people will lose their importance to the authorities. In other words, if you guess correctly on the trigger event for the extractions, you may only to have to hide out for a maximum of about 30 days.

Bugging Out to the Country

Bugging out to the country carries more risks than benefits unless you can get out of the country. As a matter of course, I do not recommend leaving the city because there are just too many ways to get caught. It is of paramount importance to realize that there are a plethora of license plate readers in operation. If you do make a run for the border, do not use your own car.
The healthy side of your paranoia is about to emerge as we consider the fact that there is a sponsored DHS program known as FAST, which is a DHS tested program and has been described as a “precrime” program. FAST will gather upon complex statistical algorithms that will compile data from multiple databases and will subsequently “predict” future criminal or terrorist acts. The FAST system can track 36 million faces in one second.

The “precrime” data will be gathered” through cybersurveillance and stealth data monitoring of ordinary citizens. The FAST program purports to assess whether an individual might pose a “precrime” threat through the capture of a range of data, including biometric data. In other words, FAST accuses non-convicted individuals as being a security threat risk of becoming future criminals and terrorists through data analysis. No charges, no police interviews, the system is designed to become “judge, jury and executioner“. Under the Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), criminal cues are captured through the following types of biometric data including body and eye movements, eye blink rate and pupil variation, body heat changes, and breathing patterns. Various linguistic cues include the analysis of voice pitch changes, alterations in voice rhythm patterns, and changes in intonations of speech. Documents released by DHS clearly show that individuals could be arrested and face serious consequences based upon statistical algorithms and predictive analytical assessments.
Most importantly, the FAST program has the ability to predict where you would likely run to in times of trying to evade capture. This program is one of the main reasons that the massive spying was undertaken because the program has the unique ability to predict your next move. I am very nervous because this technology is a part of Jade Helm and their “extraction drills”.


Unfortunately, the madness does not end with the FAST system. There is a new DHS funded multi-billion dollar spy tool and it is called FirstNet. This is a citizen information gathering device like no other. A company called New World Systems is in charge of implementing this system.
The Radio Access Network (RAN), which is part of this elaborate network, consists of the radio base station infrastructure that connects to user devices including cell towers and mobile hotspots embedded in vehicles which connects to the satellite network or other types of wireless infrastructure. This is a “search and destroy system” as FirstNet is designed to hunt you down in remote areas. The extraction component of Jade Helm in rural Texas communities, is noteworthy when these two systems are considered with regard to the potential of these two systems to abuse American citizens. Firstnet is going operationally live just prior to the Jade Helm announced kick off of July 15th.
This system is also about the disguised takeover of the Internet and all cell phone communications under the possible false premise of an emergency. Does the recent implementation of Net neutrality by the FCC make a little more sense now? When we go into martial law, communications will be suspended so potential dissidents cannot warn one another and you have just learned how they plan to accomplish this communications blackout.
Firstnet boasts a map along with the embedded graphics from the FirstNet website. From this, it is easy to conclude that they have developed the technology to track you and find you should you be a fugitive from their own special brand of justice. RAN has the ability to track you anywhere on the planet. Soon, there will be nowhere for people with high threat matrix scores to run and hide without being found by this system. These two technologies are a part of Jade Helm 15 and real time data will be available to Special Operations Forces as they carry out their missions.

Facial Recognition Software

nsa surveillance
The NGI Interstate Photo System Facial Recognition Pilot (IPSFRP) Project is a collaborative effort between the FBI and pilot agencies to identify user needs and develop a useful investigative tool for the law enforcement community through the recognition of a fugitive through facial recognition.
The Interstate Photo System provides a search of a limited population of criminal/wanted persons mug shots using a submitted probe image. I am told that these systems are now embedded in the traffic cam system in use across the country. Once a facial recognition has been established a satellite can be used to track the individual’s every movement until capture can be accomplished. Hence, keep your head down while traveling in your getaway vehicle.


There are many more programs that can be used to track fugitives than those listed here. The intention of this article is to get you to think about your own flight to safety should you think the need will someday present itself.
I would also add that when you arrive at your host family’s residence, be discreet, don’t go outside and let your presence be known. Why? Because in the early days following the extractions, a “See something, Say something program” will likely emerge. The authorities will likely advertise that a reward payment will be made to people in exchange for useful information related to suspicious activities.
As we move closer to July 15, more operational details will emerge. However, I have seen enough to know that Jade Helm 15 is very draconian and should serve as a threat to every American.  My thanks to former NSA agent, Vance Davis, former CIA agent, the late Bill Pawelec (the husband of my present News Director, Annie DeRiso) and finally I want to thank former NSA agent, A.C. Griffith for greatly adding to my awareness of NSA fugitive tracking capabilities.
Dave Hodges is the Editor and Host of The Common Sense Show.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


A-lot of people are apparently concerned about the (health) effects of plastic as it pertains to drinking water storage (‘bottles’, jugs, containers, barrels, etc.), and I thought I would give my opinion on the subject as it relates to survival and preparedness…
Not all plastic is created equal.
However there are certain plastics which are considered food safe.

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Plastic generally considered safe for food (or water)

#1 (PETE)
#2 (HDPE)*
#4 (LDPE)
#5 (PP)

*Apparently, not all HDPE #2 (buckets and containers) are food grade – those which may have been manufactured with a non-food-grade “mold release agent”. More here
Most plastic water ‘bottles’ (the kind you get in the 24-pack flats, etc.), and the plastic of soda and juice containers, are made from #1 PETE, and are apparently BPA-free nowadays (based on what I’ve discovered online about this subject).

Most 1-gallon jugs (water, milk, etc.) are of #2 plastic. By the way, it’s difficult to get all the milk ‘stuff’ and flavor out if you choose to reuse a milk jug for water storage.
‘Blue’ colored water containers (and barrels) that are specifically manufactured ‘food safe’ are made of #2 plastic. Not all food safe containers are blue, but many are (for quick identification).
#4 plastic is used for things like plastic bags, and #5 plastic is used for things like Rubbermaid type food storage containers, etc.
I have spent a-lot of time researching the general subject of various plastics versus their apparent safety for food and water, and there is a-lot of opinion and passion about it.

Having said that, I have come to my own conclusions about how to best deal with the possibility of ‘bad’ chemicals leaching into the water in which it’s stored.
Regarding #1 plastic, the fact that it is thinner (than #2) makes it less than ideal for long term water storage. In addition, I have discovered that #1 plastic will more readily leach a ‘plastic’ taste into the water if it is heated up in any way – especially over time.
For example, if you leave a plastic water bottle in your hot car, then drink it after it has been sitting there for a time, chances are you will taste a bit of plastic. This can’t be good over the long term.
Regarding #2 plastic, even though it may be considered food grade, given the controversy surrounding long term effects of leaching, it makes sense to rotate your water sooner rather than later.
My opinion is that if you’re storing water for long term, and if using plastic containers, you should use #2 HDPE food grade. You should also drain and refresh your water every 6 months. The water should be stored in a cool place, out of the sun.
With that said, the bigger picture is this:
When it comes to SHTF survival, the issues of long term effects from (the possibility) of leaching (even though the plastic is considered food grade) is miniscule in comparison to the need for water itself.
You will die without any water after 3 days (more or less).
How long will (the possibility) of leaching take before it affects you? Maybe decades? Maybe never?
“Don’t sweat it.” Just store some water!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia

On a clear morning in May, Ron Douglas left his home in exurban Denver, eased into his Toyota pickup truck and drove to a business meeting at a Starbucks. Douglas, a bearded bear of a man, ordered a venti double-chocolate-chip Frappuccino — “the girliest drink ever,” he called it — and then sat down to discuss the future of the growing survivalist industry.
Many so-called survivalists would take pride in keeping far away from places that sell espresso drinks. But Douglas, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and founder of one of the largest preparedness expos in the country, isn’t your typical prepper.
At that morning’s meeting, a strategy session with two new colleagues, Douglas made it clear that he doesn’t even like the word “survivalist.” He believes the word is ruined, evoking “the nut job who lives out in the mountains by himself on the retreat.” Instead, he prefers “self-reliance.”
When prompted by his colleagues to define the term, Douglas leaned forward in his chair. “I’m glad you asked,” he replied. “Take notes. This is good.”
For the next several minutes, Douglas talked about emergency preparedness, sustainable living and financial security — what he called the three pillars of self-reliance. He detailed the importance of solar panels, gardens, water storage and food stockpiles. People shouldn’t just have 72-hour emergency kits for when the power grid goes down; they should learn how to live on their own. It’s a message that Douglas is trying to move from the fringe to the mainstream.
“Our main goal is to reach as many people and get the word out to as many people as we can, to get them thinking and moving in this direction,” he said. “Sound good?”
The preparedness industry, always prosperous during hard times, is thriving again now. In Douglas’s circles, people talk about “the end of the world as we know it” with such regularity that the acronym Teotwawki (tee-ought-wah-kee) has come into widespread use. The Vivos Group, which sells luxury bunkers, until recently had a clock on its Web site that was ticking down to Dec. 21, 2012 — a date that, thanks to the Mayan calendar, some believe will usher in the end times. But amid the alarmism, there is real concern that the world is indeed increasingly fragile — a concern highlighted most recently by Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s aftermath has shown just how unprepared most of us are to do without the staples of modern life: food, fuel, transportation and electric power.
The survivalist business surged in the wake of 9/11, when authorities instructed New Yorkers to prepare disaster kits, learn how to seal doors and vents with duct tape and be ready to evacuate at any time. Threat-level warnings about possible terrorist attacks kept Americans rattled for years, and were followed by various disasters of other types: the financial meltdown, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, drought, blackouts and concerns over everything from rising sea levels to Iran’s nuclear program.
Late last year, Douglas and his partners formed the Red Shed Media Group, a single corporate home for several endeavors: the Self Reliance Expo, conventions that Douglas founded in 2010, dedicated to showcasing survival gear and skills; Self Reliance Broadcasting, an Internet-based channel devoted to the cause; and an entity that controls the rights to publishing “Making the Best of Basics,” a popular survivalist handbook. The name Red Shed was symbolic for Douglas. “When your grandfather went and did a project,” he told me, “he went out to the red shed and pulled out all the tools he needed for the job.” Douglas wants his virtual red shed to be a single place where people can get all the preparedness information they need. Five expos this year have drawn 40,000 people who pay $10 each. The radio network has logged more than two million podcast downloads; in one day alone in July, it reported nearly 90,000 downloads. The book, which was first published in 1974, includes recipes for everything from wild pig (“they are easy to prepare”) to dove pie (“simmer for one hour or until doves are tender”). Douglas said it had sold about 20,000 copies this year.
But the goal isn’t just to sell to the same old preparedness crowd. Red Shed wants to attract liberals and political moderates to a marketplace historically populated by conservatives and right-wing extremists. “It’s not the end of the world,” Douglas told me last spring, making a bold statement for someone in his industry. “It’s not doomsday.” It’s about showing the gun-toting mountain man in his camouflage and the suburban soccer mom in her minivan that they want the same thing: peace of mind. “We don’t say, ‘Hurry up and buy your stuff because Obama is going to ruin the country,’ ” Douglas said. “We don’t get into the political crap. We just want to teach people the lifestyle.”
The first thing you notice about Douglas’s neighborhood in Frederick, Colo., about 30 miles north of Denver, is that it’s not particularly noticeable. He doesn’t have a mountain stronghold or a 20-acre spread. He doesn’t have a bunker or anything resembling a barn. Instead, he, his wife, Heather, and their six children, ages 4 to 16, inhabit a typical American suburban home. There’s an in-ground sprinkler system and a play structure in the backyard. The siding on the house is an innocuous beige. Pink tulips bloom in the flower beds come spring. The children can walk to school.
The fact that Douglas not only told me where he lives but also invited me to visit him would be considered a huge mistake by many in the prepping world. Revealing your location runs the risk of compromising your Opsec, or “operations security,” an abbreviation coined by the military and adopted by survivalists. “I don’t even mention what state I live in,” James Wesley Rawles, the editor of, a popular prepping Web site, told me. “All I’m at liberty to discuss, with consent of my wife, is that I live somewhere west of the Rockies.”
For Rawles and others, it’s a matter of security. Revealing your location gives the Unprepared a road map to the stockpiles of the Prepared, in the event of Teotwawki. “I don’t want to wake up and find out that I’m the go-to guy — literally,” Rawles says.
If civilization breaks down, Douglas’s house is definitely where you want to be. In his home office — the de facto headquarters for Red Shed’s six shareholders and two independent contractors — he keeps not only his iPad and his MacBook but also a ham radio and a C.B. radio. In his basement, there is roughly a year’s supply of wheat, rice and other staples. And outside, he tries to keep a year’s supply of chopped wood and, in his garage, 375 gallons of water.
If he needs to leave, Douglas has modified a Chevy Suburban so that it can travel 850 miles between fill-ups. If he stays, he’s ready to protect his family and his provisions. Douglas can’t even remember how many guns he owns. “Twelve?” he guessed when I asked. “Not as many as most.” But he knows his favorite: the Governor, a Smith & Wesson handgun that fires shotgun shells. “This is the home defender here,” he said. “You just point it in the right direction, and it’s over.”
Yet unlike others in his industry, Douglas doesn’t waste energy worrying about things like Opsec. And though he owns guns, he doesn’t push gun ownership.
At a meeting at an empty Hooters restaurant in Colorado Springs this year, Douglas listened impatiently as a salesman tried to get him to buy some ads on a local radio station for a coming expo. He was saying he could offer the same rates for a typical gun show. Douglas told the man that he wasn’t getting it at all. “I’m not just a gun show,” Douglas said to him.
The salesman’s confusion must be forgiven. The last time anything like Douglas’s expos hit convention halls was the 1990s. Y2K was coming. The threat of computers — and everything else — failing was a boon for a show called the Preparedness Expo. Civil rights organizations denounced the early incarnations of these gatherings, organized by a Utah man named Dan Chittock, as havens for political extremism and hate, an image that Chittock disputed even as he seemed to invite it. His biggest draw at the expos, Chittock told me, was James Gritz, known as Bo, a leader of the right-wing survivalist movement who offered paramilitary training and promoted Idaho as a refuge for antigovernment patriots. Dave Duffy, the editor and publisher of Backwoods Home Magazine, said: “I pulled out of Dan’s shows after awhile. It was conspiracy stuff. And it was making my magazine, along with the other vendors, look bad.”
Y2K offered a clearer threat; attendance at the expos doubled. But when the millennium dawned without widespread computer meltdowns, Chittock’s audience disappeared, and the expos disbanded. “It was kind of like crying ‘wolf,’ ” Chittock says. “Nobody wanted to hear it anymore.” Many small survivalist companies folded, while others struggled to carry on. Sun Ovens International, an Illinois company that manufactures solar-powered ovens, had sales fall to less than $200,000 in 2000 from $1.6 million a year earlier — a staggering 88 percent decline made worse by the fact that the company got stuck with $100,000 in unpaid invoices after the Y2K bust. “When Y2K was a nonevent, almost everybody in the preparedness industry declared bankruptcy,” Paul M. Munsen, the company’s president, says.
Sun Ovens limped along, critically wounded. “I refinanced my home three different times just to eat,” Munsen says. But in time, business began to improve, thanks in part to Barack Obama’s presidential victory four years ago, which alarmed many on the right worried about everything from his economic policies to his middle name. “The day after the election was one of the best sales days we ever had,” Munsen says. “Some people were just so upset about the election that they said, ‘We had better be prepared.’ ”
Ron Douglas wasn’t a part of the preparedness gold rush of the 1990s. He was working at the time as a corrections officer in Texas before moving to Colorado, where he bought a Critter Control franchise. Not long after Sun Oven sales began to rise, Douglas got out of the pest-control business. As a Mormon, he was taught the virtues of living a prepared life. He had been stockpiling food for years. But now, Douglas was beginning to sense a larger void — and a commercial opportunity — that needed to be filled.
He held his first Self Reliance Expo in November 2010 and tried to put a new spin on survivalism. Instead of lining up speakers to offer right-wing screeds, Douglas organized a homemade bread bake-off. The prize: a new wheat grinder. The products — and even the vendors at times — may have been the same from the expos of the past. But the packaging felt different, less threatening. Duffy says he noticed it immediately: “It was apparent right off the bat — no nut cases.”
Scott Valencia, a business developer from the video-game industry who formed Red Shed with Douglas last year and owns a stake in the company, helped see to that. He instructed vendors to avoid fear tactics and improve their displays while also making sure that the venues were welcoming and well lighted with wide aisles — the better to fit baby strollers and families. There was to be no more doom and gloom. “We lost some vendors when we told them that we weren’t doing it anymore — and Ron worried about that,” Valencia says. “But I said, ‘You’re going to pick up new ones.’ And we have.”
At an expo in May in Colorado Springs, at least a hundred people were waiting to get inside when the doors opened for the day. Some bought water filters; others learned fire-building skills. An audience gathered at the main stage to listen to Alan Madison talk about his reality TV show on the National Geographic Channel, “Doomsday Preppers,” whose second season began this month. “To me, it’s like a giant American studies project,” Madison, an executive producer of the show, told me. “I think it captures America at the beginning of the 21st century.” By the time the first season finished in April, the show had become the channel’s highest-rated series ever.
Not everyone at the expo was a fan of “Doomsday Preppers.” Terry Browning, a 41-year-old Army veteran, said the show unfairly depicts people like him as “militant psychos.” “Half the people here are probably not even thinking about the bunker underground or the 10,000 rounds of ammo — stuff like that,” he told me. “Most of these people just want to be safe in their homes with enough supplies to get them through whatever may be.”
In other words, they’re a lot like Linda Thrower, a home-health nurse from New Mexico. She and her husband, Troy, started prepping only recently, and they hesitated to even attend the expo. “We didn’t want to be inundated with a bunch of way-out-there radical followers,” she told me. Yet once inside, she was pleased with what she found. Yes, there was ammunition for sale and classes to help people obtain concealed-weapons permits. But Thrower, 59, left the expo that weekend with canned cheese, baking supplies for her Sun Oven and some practice in emergency suturing, the subject of one of the expo’s many seminars. “I think that’s a good thing for me, as a nurse, to be able to do,” she said. “Because if we have a disaster, whether it’s natural or man-made, there’s not going to be enough doctors.”
Just across the aisle from the Tea Party booth at the expo stood EnerHealth Botanicals, a Colorado company whose signature product is a “super green energy drink” that is organic, gluten-free, caffeine-free and G.M.O.-free. As a founder of the company in 2005, Steve St. Clair, EnerHealth’s chief executive, was focused on health-minded liberals. In the spring of 2011, however, St. Clair bought a booth at one of Douglas’s expos. “People just ran over us,” St. Clair told me. “They just loved the stuff.”
Since then, EnerHealth has sold products created for the preparedness market, especially its Survive2Thrive Organic Preparedness Pail. It sells for $270 and consists of 40 days’ worth of vacuum-packed organic food, including five pounds of rolled oats, four pounds of millet, three pounds of garbanzo beans and so on. Business at EnerHealth doubled last year. “And it looks like it may do it again this year,” St. Clair said. Sales were brisk before Hurricane Sandy. And natural disasters always help the preparedness industry.
The week Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, Douglas was getting bombarded with e-mail from exhibitors asking him to organize an expo in the Northeast. To date, the farthest east he has been is Hickory, N.C. The demographic for preparedness generally tilts Western and rural. But since Sandy, Douglas has been considering putting on an expo in New York or New Jersey. “This is exactly what we’re trying to prepare people for,” he told me. “Everybody talks about doomsday, the end of the world — apocalypse nonsense. This is New York’s doomsday right now.”
One night last spring, Douglas invited friends and neighbors to his house in Frederick for what he called a “modern-day barn-raising.” The tasks for the night included clearing the back corner of the lot, erecting new garden boxes for the season and chopping wood. Everyone was well fortified for the work; Heather, Ron’s wife, had cooked a large dinner of spare ribs in a Sun Oven. And the weather was perfect for the chores. Within 90 minutes, the garden boxes were ready. Heather served homemade root beer and store-bought ice cream, and the men gathered in the driveway to talk as the sun set behind the Rocky Mountains.
“You’re coming to my house next week,” Chad Tone, one of the men, told Douglas, joking.
For months, Tone had been talking to Douglas about wanting to be more prepared. He bought canned goods at Costco, and he figured his family could live off them for months, if necessary. But Tone wasn’t canning food or growing his own food; he had no garden. Douglas knew Tone still had a lot of work to do and, standing in the driveway, he asked his friend a cosmic question of great importance.
“Are you ready?” Douglas said.
“No,” Tone replied.
Douglas just shook his head and smiled. “Gotta get ready,” he said.

27 Essential Preparedness Tips, Skills and Resources to Prepare for Disasters & Threats

Preparing for Disasters Graphic with various disasters

Preparedness Planning: Planning to Survive Disasters and Threats

When it comes to preparedness, one of the most important things you can do is to put together a plan of action. If things go bad, having a plan of action can help increase your chances of surviving the chaos.
  • Will you stay or will you go? Start thinking about what type of disasters would cause you to evacuate your home, and what situations would call for hunkering down and sheltering in place.
  • Put together an Evacuation plan: If you do need to leave, you need to have a plan in place. Bugging out without a plan or a place to go is not going to end well.
  • Have a Plan B: Having a preparedness plan is great, but during a crisis those plans can quickly change. Because of the unpredictable nature of disasters, you need to have a backup plan for when things start to spiral out of control.
  • Your Plan needs to include the immediate steps you’ll take once disaster hits: When planning for disasters people often put too much emphasis on gear and supplies. Having Survival Gear is great, but it isn’t the whole picture; you have to have a plan that includes what steps you’ll take once the threat hits.
  • Get Home Planning: When planning for disasters, one of the most overlooked areas is often what happens in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Even more problematic – especially if you’re not ready to deal with it – is what happens when you find yourself away from home when disaster strikes.

Preparing for the most Likely Disasters First

Many Survival books and websites often place too much emphasis on those rare, but frightening end-of-days types of disasters. While yes, some of those events could conceivably happen, it’s often the small-scale localized dangers that pose the largest threat to your safety.
This is one of the main reasons I wrote my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide; people need to really understand what threats are out there, and then take steps to prepare for the chaos that could result from each of those threats.

Stocking up on Gear & Supplies

I love survival gear as much as the next guy, but If you’ve skipped over the planning and the training phase you are doing yourself a huge disservice; you’re also putting everyone you care about in danger. That being said, gear does play a large role in survival and knowing what gear to buy and what supplies to stock up on is an important piece of the puzzle.

Mental Preparations: You need to Develop a Survival Mindset

Often when you read about survival, you usually read about things like gear, survival skills and emergency planning; while those things are extremely important, and will make surviving a lot easier, there’s one thing that’s often overlooked that really is the key to survival: Mental Preparedness.

Shoot for the Goal of Total Self-Sufficiency

Thanks to modern technology and our consumer culture, what was once common knowledge in this country has largely faded away; replaced by a dependence on everything and everybody but ourselves. Sadly, we now live in a world where most people can’t make it an hour without incessantly checking their iPhone; I won’t even mention how long these same people would last out during a disaster that caused the grid to go down.
When it comes to preparedness, your end goal should be 100% self-sufficiency. It really is the only way you can truly be prepared for everything that the future has in store. While it’s not going to be easy, especially in this interdependent age of technology, there are things you can do to help ease into the lifestyle.

Free Homesteading and Survival Manuals

Preppers are always looking to learn additional skills and methods for survival. In some cases knowledge comes from reading prepper blogs like the Prepper Journal. Other times, you can obtain training from reputable instructors in disciplines like self-defense, weapons training and first aid. Yet another source that many people use are books.
Books are a great prepper resource in my opinion that you shouldn’t neglect as part of your prepping efforts. They might not replace skills you can acquire by other means, but they are something that you may be able to fall back on as a source of information. I recommend keeping a wide range of books in your own prepping library to use in the case that the glorious internet isn’t available. With printed material, you can see obtain knowledge without Google.
While the internet is still running though, there are hundreds of great survival manuals available for the download. Many preppers have binders full of these free manuals that they have downloaded and printed out. I was able to pull a fairly large list of survival manuals, first aid manuals and homesteading topics for your information. You can use all of these links to build your knowledge and enhance your own survival library. If you have any other links please let me know and I can add those in.

Free First Aid Manuals

Free Homesteading Manuals

Free Recipe and Cookbook/Food Preservation Manuals

Free Bushcraft Manuals

Free Survival Manuals