November 26, 2014

Fifteen Preparedness Gift Ideas

We’re nearing Christmas, so I thought I would take this opportunity to give you some gift ideas for the Prepper on your list! I own all but one of these items. I stand behind every one I will post. Some of the links posted are affiliate links, meaning if you decide to purchase, I will get a very small commission; thank you if you do buy something!

I am also going to mention the Preparedness Club. If you’re looking for gift ideas besides what is on this list or even if you’re looking for something specific, check the Preparedness Club out. Think of us as the sales section of the newspaper. You come to one site to see sales instead of visiting several, and we post only the best sales daily. If you sign up for updates, you will receive one email per day at 6pm EST that lists the sales found for that day.
 
 

Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids; $3.99 for Kindle Edition

If you have a child and are looking for ways to teach them about preparedness, then the Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids book would make a great gift. The same can be said for Prepper Pete’s Gun of a Son: A Gun Safety Book for Kids, if you have a child you would like to teach gun safety concepts. I have read and reviewed both Prepper Pete Prepares and Prepper Pete’s Gun of a Son, in case you would like to get my full opinion.
 
 

Resqme Keychain Car Escape Tool; $9.95

I used to have a tool that would cut a seatbelt and break a car window. I kept it in the door pocket, thinking if I wrecked it would be within reach. Then my son wrecked the car, nearly rolling it. I found my tool the next day in the back seat, out of reach.

We now have these on our key chains. To break a window, simply push it against the window and a pin snaps forward shattering the glass. It will also cut a seatbelt. Best of all, it will always be in reach when the key is in the ignition.
 
 

Allen Company Adult Blade 4 Lens Style Combo Case (Clear, Red, Yellow, Smoke); $11.00-$15.00

You can read my review of these glasses here.. I used to just buy the safety glasses that cost less than $5 from Menards. Then someone let me try their set of these in yellow. I was amazed at how everything popped out. To me, the yellow alone is worth $11, but add the other colors and this is a great deal!
 
 

Luci Solar Lantern; $14.00
I recently reviewed LUCI. You can read the full review Here. LUCI is a solar powered light, powerful enough to provide up to an 8’x10’ room with enough light to read by. It takes 8 hours to get a full charge. Once charged, it will keep a full charge for 3 months! After that, it will hold a half charge for two years! If you use it for 12 hours a day, she will last around 2 years! If you use her occasionally you can expect many years of use!
 
 

Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer; $16.33
Anyone who carries more than a couple pieces of EDC gear has probably gotten tired of fumbling through their pockets for that one needed item. That is what led to me buying this bag, and it was a great idea! It holds most of my EDC gear and fits in the pocket of my cargo pants with room to spare.
 
 

Ps Quick Draw Gun Magnet; $17.69
This might not be the typical gift idea, but if you have someone trying to conceal a handgun at home, it is the perfect gift. This is a great way to have your handgun out with you while watching TV or at the desk, yet have it concealed. The magnet strength is enough to hold up to 10lbs.
 
 


Seed of the Month Club; Six months $19.74 or 1 year $35.52
This is the one item I do not own/participate in. After several years of failed attempts at gardening I realized we just don’t get enough sun to garden in any part of the yard. Should we move, I will join the Seed of the Month Club.

Give a new variety of heirloom, non GMO seeds every month! Click here to save 25%, and Preparedness Club members receive a 30% discount.
 
 

Space All Weather Blanket; $19.99

If you have the typical foil type space blanket in your BOB, this is a great upgrade. I still have them in mine, but this one is far warmer and more durable. Warmer than wool, it will retain 80% of body heat. It also has grommets in each corner and is tear and puncture resistant.
 
 

Guyot Designs Backpacker Stainless Steel Bottle, 32-Ounce; $21.99
I don’t own this version. I own its big, discontinued, brother and you can read my review of it here. As I say in the review, the Backpacker has a narrower base and is less expensive than the one I have. That aside, this is a fantastic water bottle! It keeps things cooler longer and the wide mouth makes filling it easier. Just make sure it comes with a splash guard (I believe they do. Well, mine did anyway.) This is the last water bottle I will ever own.

 
 

Making the Best of Basics


Making the Best of Basics; $39.99

This is the first informational prepper-type book I purchased after seeing several raving reviews on various forums. They were not wrong! This book is very packed with information on subjects including how to stock your pantry, how to store those items and how to cook with them. There is a sprouting guide, a guide on wheat and dehydrating fruits and vegetables. There are instructions on how to make yogurt and cheese. There is even information on essential oils!

I have said it before, this is one book that should be in everyone’s preparedness library! You can read my full review of it here. There are now digital and DVD versions. I prefer the hard copy, but the digital and DVD version come with a lot of extras not included in the hard copy.
 
 
Howard Leight
Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff; $48.94
If you go shooting with other people, this is a must have item. If you take any level of training, this is a must have item. I used them during training and could hear the instructor who was speaking normally, and was on the other side of the outdoor range. I would not have heard him that well without the electronic earmuffs! They really amplify voice well, and block the sounds of gunfire to the level any other earmuffs would. You can read my full 5 star review here.
 
 


Cold Steel Spartan; $59.59
This is my EDC knife for last ditch self-defense. I’ll be honest, I liked the look of it and it was getting good reviews, so I asked for it as a birthday gift. It is a far better knife than my previous EDC knife. The handle design means your grip is strong and your fingers are not sliding off. This might be adjustable, but mine doesn’t open easily, which is fine by me. My last knife slid open when it wasn’t supposed to and I ended up with stitches. Be forewarned, this knife is a mammoth, with a total length of 10.5” and is also quite wide. It still fits fine in a pants pocket, but is the biggest folder I have owned.
 
 


AlertsUSA; $99.00 per year
Do you have a news junky in your life? Someone who needs to stay on top of current events? Maybe they check their favorite online sources multiple times a day? AlertsUSA
is the perfect gift for them! AlertsUSA’s goal is to increase the user’s level of situational and threat awareness. They will send a text message to your mobile device and an email with every alert.

I have used the service for two years and they frequently give an alert before the MSM picks up on the topic. Since they are not the MSM and their only agenda is to give you the information they deem as important, they often report information received from an insider that never appears on MSM.

The service is $99.00 a year. However, Preparedness Club members receive it for $75.00! For just this weekend you can get a one year membership to of AlertsUSA for $69.00!
 
 
CrossBreed
Crossbreed holster; Price varies
I was introduced to CrossBreed holsters by a reader, and I am glad I was! I owned 4-5 holsters before my CrossBreed. They either never fit right, didn’t offer enough concealment or were uncomfortable.

I purchased the Snapside and a gun belt to go with it. The combination of the two is BY FAR the most comfortable way I have ever carried. If you CCW on a regular basis, I cannot recommend them enough, especially with a gun belt. The level of comfort, support and conceal-ability is well worth the price!

They also have belly band holsters, ankle holsters and a modular design called a purse defender that essentially turns any purse into a CCW purse. They also have bedside backup and a RAM ball mount that allows you to securely mount your handgun just about anywhere and make it easily accessible.

It might actually be too late to get some of the items before Christmas, but if you have a shooter on your list, consider Crossbreed! They’ll love it.

 
 

Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator; $179.00
I did a lot of research and looking before deciding to purchase the Excalibur dehydrator. There are many that are less expensive, but I either didn’t like the design or didn’t like some other feature. The Excalibur is the champion when it comes to the amount of food that you can dehydrate at one time.
 
 

SIRT R/R Training Pistol. Dry Fire Handgun by Next Level Training; $195.00
The SIRT training pistol is a diagnostic tool and training aid. It allows you to train and form good habits, and actually see deficiencies like breaking down and left when you squeeze the trigger. With the use of the laser it lets you see if and when you are breaking off target.

The cost might seem a little high, but if you consider the cost of ammo and how much ammo it could take to break you out of bad habits, it could actually save you money!

The deal linked here is actually better than what I got. It includes:

•SIRT 110 Training Pistol Red/Red Lasers
•FREE 90min Training DVD and FREE SIRT Safety Glasses.
Also includes a weighted magazine, a carrying case, adjustment tools and manuals.
•Includes $250.00 Front Sight Certificate as well as Coupons and Other Discounts for Accessories and Additional Training Aids
•One Year Manufacturer Warranty. Made in the USA.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully I have been able to give you some gift ideas for the Prepper on your list. I’m sure they’ll be happy with anything I have listed. If you are looking for a gift that is more light hearted or a gag gift, check out this list from The Daily Prep.

Introducing Homespun Environmental

I was recently approached by Homespun Environmental, a company specializing in Prepper DIY water filtration. They sell a line of ceramic filters at a fraction of the cost of say Berkey or the others in the marketplace. They also provide you with the instructions on how to make your DIY filtration unit.

I have seen designs people have made with 5 gallon buckets and Berkey filters, which also uses ceramic filters. This would be cheaper than buying a Berkey, but the filters are still expensive.

The filters by Homespun Environmental are very affordable. The Emergency Water Kit is only $25 and includes one ceramic filter. If you do not have a water purifier, this is a very solid option, as they are offering premium filtration at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. You can find a full product line here.

To tell you more about Homespun Environmental, here is an article written by owner Russ Michaud.
 
 
Top of the List

Russ Michaud – www.homespunenvironmental.com

There is a feeling in the country that things are changing for the worse; the government is deep in debt, politicians are just looking out for themselves, and society as a whole is beginning to fray. For a variety of reasons it appears that the good old days are winding down and harder times are coming. A lot of folks look at our high-tech lifestyles and realize that if critical functions were removed they would be utterly helpless to fend for themselves. Living without the internet seems unimaginable to many; just think if they lost electricity, or grocery stores, or running water…

As the bad news continues to come in there are a lot of folks preparing for a life without some or all of our modern conveniences. There’s a variety of books, blogs, and TV shows discussing how this might be possible. Of course there are many unknowns when planning for disaster, such as what happens, how long it lasts, your living situation, location, and financial circumstances. One thing that you will always need, no matter what happens, is access to clean water. Even a disaster that only lasts for a few days could become deadly if it leaves you without water.

This paper introduces ceramic water filter cartridges, which provide a low-cost, low-tech, well proven solution that enables clean water to be produced from just about any fresh water source.

homespun 1What is a ceramic water filter? The filter consists of a ceramic shell which usually contains activated carbon. The ceramic shell has sub-micron sized pores which filter out small contaminants such as bacteria and particulates while the carbon inside treats the water by removing a wide spectrum of chemicals. Specialized filters that remove particular chemicals such as fluoride or arsenic can also be manufactured by using other media in place of the carbon.

These filters are fairly low cost but are often bundled with fancy containers and big brand names that can add hundreds of dollars to the price. In reality though, you can make your own water filter systems at a much lower cost. This has been proven by missionary groups and NGOs in disaster situations all around the world.

Two pictures are presented below (in lieu of a few more pages of text) to explain how these systems can be made and used. The picture on the left is made from a couple of 5 gallon buckets with the filter in the middle. Though you can use any type of containers when building your system, the basic design is almost always the same: A top container holding the unfiltered water and the filter, and a bottom container to catch the clean water that drips from the filter spout. The picture on the right shows the parts that make up an ‘emergency kit’ which is used to create the system at left. (Currently this kit sells for only $25.)

homespun 2homespun 3

These systems are portable, require no power, are very simple to create and maintain, and are low cost. They can be used with just about any freshwater source as has been proven throughout the world for the last couple of decades by a multitude of refugees.

How much water and how fast? One of the first questions most people have is “How much water are these filters good for?” There are two answers for this question. The filter will remove bacteria and particulates for as long as the ceramic shell is intact. The pores in the ceramic can get clogged over time, but it is easy to unclog them by using a slight abrasive to remove the outermost (clogged) layer of shell.

Chemicals are treated by the activated carbon inside which is used up after 6 to 8 months of ‘normal’ use. ‘Normal’ assumes 12 to 15 gallons per day from a natural water source. This implies the carbon will last for 3000 to 4000 gallons. The carbon’s lifespan will be shortened if the water contains a lot of chemicals, such as chlorine. The filters can be stored indefinitely and used intermittently provided they are dried out well inbetween uses.

The amount of clean water a system can produce in a day is another question most people have. The water flow of a filter dripping out of the spout depends on the water level in the upper container, so as the water level decreases the flow rate slows. For a standard 5 gallon bucket the flow rate is 12 to 15 gallons per day assuming the bucket is refilled a few times. This is plenty of water for drinking and basic needs for a family. However, one can easily increase the flow rates if larger groups or bartering applications are needed.

homespun 4 A very simple method to increase flow rates is to place filters in parallel. For example; if one filter is giving a flow of 1/2 gallon per hour, placing a second filter in the container will double the flow rate. (A standard 5 gallon bucket can fit up to three dome filters). Another advantage of parallel filters is there is more activated carbon so you can remove more chemicals. The downside to this method is that it costs more to implement.

A second method for increasing water flow is to increase the pressure on the filter. This can be accomplished by using deep upper containers to provide more water pressure, or by increasing the air pressure in the container using an air tight seal and a hand pump. The downside of air pressure is that it increases system costs and also requires manual labor.

homespun 5 A third method that is low cost is to add a siphon tube to the output of the filter. This provides a pulling force instead of a pushing one. The force is proportional to the length of the siphon and the vertical distance it is from one end to the other; the longer the tube the faster the water flows. For a stacked bucket system (where one bucket sits directly on top of the other one, and the vertical distance is only a foot or so) the siphon can double the flow compared to a filter just dripping. A ‘separated bucket’ system (shown to the right) uses a long siphon; this can increase flow rates a lot more depending on the siphon height. Please note that if you separate the buckets like this, the bottom one should stay covered to prevent other contaminants from getting into the filtered water. This method is probably the best due to its low cost and low effort required.

There is a caveat to increasing flow rates and that is that it decreases the ‘contact time’ that the water has with the activated carbon and thus reduces the ability of the carbon to adsorb some chemicals. The time needed varies with the type of chemical being adsorbed so unfortunately there is no straightforward answer as to how fast you should go. The best advice is to filter the water however quickly you have a demand for it.

These filters are adaptable to many applications and configurations. They are used in rain water systems, well water remediation, and back country living as well as disaster situations. Besides tens of thousands of refugees, farmers in Uganda, apartment dwellers in NYC, and water vendors in Central America have all used these filters successfully.

One additional benefit of these filters is their potential value as barter items if times do get really bad. Something fairly inexpensive now could be worth a whole lot more later on, especially if they’re useful.

Conclusion Ceramic and carbon water filters are excellent devices for family and small group sized systems. They are low cost, do not require electricity to operate, and are simple to assemble and maintain. They work on both biological and chemical contaminants in water sources where many other filter types only work on one or the other. In Do It Yourself applications they provide an outstanding value and allow for a wide degree of customization. They can also provide a form of investment as they would enable bartering for other valuable goods and services in ‘grid down’ scenarios.

Homespun Environmental is a small business catering to the DIY ‘prepper’ market for ceramic water filters. DIY (Doing it yourself) allows for much lower prices and systems that can be customized to particular circumstances and needs. They offer individual components, affordable, emergency water filter kits, and systems for the outdoor sportsman. Homespun 6

 
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Review of the MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Review of the MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Every once in a while I get to review an item that, because of features, potential and its price, is an item that I am happy to tell you about! LUCI is one of these! Created by MPOWERED, LUCI is an inflatable solar lantern with a diameter of 5”. It’s about 4” tall when inflated and 1” tall when collapsed.

LUCI is waterproof and shatterproof. It is very lightweight and affordable; the Luci Solar Lantern I was sent retails for only $15! Other models can run up to $25.
 
 
Features

LUCI Dimensions

LUCI is made up of 10 LED lights, a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.

It is rated for 500-2000 cycles, meaning full battery cycles from full to empty. If you use it every day for twelve hours, it is expected that it’ll work for about two years! If you use LUCI occasionally you can expect many years of use.

The LED bulbs have a lifespan of 25,000 hours, and the manufacturer states that they will not burn out during the life of LUCI.

LUCI solar panel

LUCI will hold a full charge for about three months. After that it will retain half a charge for up to two years!

There are three power settings; low, high and a slow flashing.

LUCI produces enough light to illuminate up to an 8-10’ square foot room.

LUCI is rated to run in temperatures from 15-122 degrees.

There is a plastic strap on the top and bottom. A carbineer would be needed to hang it from something to cast light or hang upside down to charge.

LUCI can be charged from with sunlight or incandescent light and takes 8 hours for a full charge.
 
 
Potential

LUCI is being marketed as offering “solar justice” to the 3 billion people in the world who either live without electricity or can’t afford it. They even have a program where you can MPOWERED for a LUCI to be given to someone in need!

LUCI will effectively lengthen the ability to get things done after the sun goes down. That is the case for those living without electricity now, and for anyone who owns one if the power goes out!

LUCI in colorLuci doesn’t act like a flashlight. To be fair, flashlights don’t serve the same purpose as LUCI in my book either. A flashlight is a great tool for casting light at length or lighting a specific area for a short time. LUCI is geared toward lighting a general area for a length of time.
 
 
LUCI roadside
Just some of the uses I can see are: In the BOB, lights out/blackout kit, glove box or trunk for use during roadside emergencies, lighting an outdoor area for night gatherings, floating in the pool for evening swims (did I mention it’s waterproof?!?!?). I think LUCI will give a scared child much more comfort in a blackout than a flashlight, as it lights up a bigger area.
 
 
Price

As stated above, the Luci Solar Lantern that was sent to me costs $15. You can visit the MPOWERED site to find all four versions, including the ones in various colors! They range in price from $15 – $25.

At these prices, I think they make a great addition to anyone’s preparations! They would also make great gifts for those who may not be preparedness minded!

 
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Fifteen Ways to Reuse Two-Liter Bottles

Fifteen Ways to Reuse Two-Liter Bottles

Here are several ways to reuse 2 liter bottles. Please add your ideas to the comment section.
 
 

Water Storage

Wash them out by putting a drop of dish soap in, filling ¾ of the way with hot water and shaking. Rinse it out and let it dry. If it still smells like the previous contents you might consider keeping it for a different use. If it smells fine, you can fill it with water, and store it in a cool dark area.
 
 
Frozen

Pack the Freezer

Fill with water and pack them in the freezer to take up empty space. This makes it so less energy is needed to keep the freezer at the optimal temperature. Also if the power goes out they will help things stay cold longer. Just leave a little room in the bottle so the ice can expand as it freezes.
 
 
Keep Things Cold

If you go on a picnic you can take a frozen 2 liter bottle out of the freezer and place it in the cooler to keep things cold. This would also be an option if power went out, take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge to help keep the temp lower inside.
 
 
Stay Hydrated

On a hot day take a frozen 2 liter bottle out and drink the cold water as it thaws.
 
 
Chill Out

While probably not the most comfortable ice pack, it would stay cold longer than most I have ever used.
 
 

Food Storage

While I don’t think this is the best method, I have read of several people who store dry goods such as rice in 2 liter bottles for many years.
 
 
In the Garage

Funnel

Remove the cap and cut the bottle in half. Use the top portion as a funnel.
 
 
Dry Material Dispenser

Carefully fill the bottle with sand, kitty litter, “melt away” for melting ice, etc. Leave the cap on for storage. Remove the cap and shake the contents out onto whatever is needed.
 
 
Plastic Bag Dispenser

Cut off the bottom and very top of the bottle, at its neck. Attach, upside down, wherever you would like the dispenser, using screws and a washer to attach it. Fill with plastic bags from the various stores you shop at!
 
 
In the Garden

Drip Irrigation

Poke holes in the 2 liter bottle. Bury the bottle next to a plant in your garden at planting time. Leave enough of the top sticking up so you can easily reach it and refill it with water as needed.


Mini Green House

If you plant your seedlings and get a frost warning, you can cut the bottom off and cover your seedling sticking the bottle deep enough in the dirt to form a seal, to protect it from the cold. You’ve just created a very small, one plant, green house.
 
 
Upside Down Planter

Have you seen those upside down planters? You can create one! Cut the bottom off a 2 liter bottle, place a layer of duct tape around the newly created rim for stability and poke holes. Thread rope through the holes so you can hang it! Now, take your seedling and gently insert it, leaves first, into the bottom, putting the leaves through the top. Fill the bottle with dirt, and hang it where it will get sun!
 
 
Vertical Planter

A vertical garden can be created by cutting a section from the side of a 2 liter bottle and attaching it to a privacy fence or other vertical space. Fill the bottle with soil and plant in it!
 
 
Traps

Bug trap

Remove the cap and cut the bottle in half, leaving the bottom 2/3 of the length. Place the top upside down so it is sticking inside the bottle and staple it in place. If there are any gaps along the seam, add duct tape so that the only opening is where the cap was. Create a mixture of sugar and water and pour it into the bottle, leaving one to two inches between the water and the inverted bottle. I have read that you can add ½ tsp of yeast, as the yeast feeds off of the sugar it gives of CO2, which will attract mosquitoes. To catch other bugs, replace the yeast with ½ cup of apple cider vinegar.

Minnow Trap

Remove the cap and cut the bottle in half, leaving the bottom 2/3 of the length. Place some rocks in the bottom to act as an anchor. Now place the top upside down, so it is sticking inside the bottle and staple it in place. Insert some bread into the trap and place it in the water.

 
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Emergency Heat

Emergency Heat

This is a topic I haven’t covered in a while, and I’ve gotten some questions related to it recently, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit emergency heat. Going without heat is something that hundreds, if not thousands of people face every year. Many of those affected have electric heat and above ground power lines, which can be brought down by storm damage from falling trees or from ice storms and blizzards.

Energy is one of the Five Basic Human Needs, and the rule of three’s tells us that we can only live 3 hours in poor weather without it. Depending on how low the temperature is, that number could be less. Be aware that hypothermia can set in at temperatures less than 50 degrees, so this isn’t just a topic for northern states!
 
 
Back Up Electricity

One might think the solution to being without heat due to a power outage would be to provide backup electricity with a generator and that might be the case for short term outages. The catch is making sure you have enough fuel to run the generator. I heard stories after Hurricane Sandy about whole home generators that used an entire 500lb propane tank. If the outage is large enough and long enough, nearby gas stations will, most likely, be without power to operate the pumps.

A small generator would sufficiently run space heaters, but the fuel usage is still prohibitive. I own a generator, but my plan for it is to run the freezer and fridge for an hour in the morning and evening to keep the food inside cold.

I’m not going to go more in depth on generators, but if you’re interested, here is an article I wrote called Portable Generators and an article on storing gasoline and diesel long term.
 
 
Scope of the Problem

Before we can really come up with a solution, we need to know the scope of the potential problem. Because of the type of events that are most likely to cause us to need emergency heat, it is safe to say there will be a large portion of the people in our area affected.

A side note; we had a large storm here in Minnesota last year, leaving thousands without power in the summer. It was unbelievable the number of people on the news and social media accusing the power companies of not doing anything. The electric grid is a very complex, interconnected and in many instances outdated beast. In a large scale power outage, it is far more complicated to correct say a fallen tree, than just removing the fallen tree and flipping a switch.

Yes, the tree needs to be removed and lines repaired, but there is also a very good chance that the tree falling caused damage to other components down the line. The line must remain off for utility workers to repair all of it and replace said components.

I digress; in a large scale power outage, it is safe to say that it could take a number of days but will probably not take weeks for power to be restored. Hurricane Sandy saw many people without power for several weeks and some saw months. However, that was an aberration caused by wind damage, water damage, flooding of the underground grid and several other factors. I know of several large scale storms across the country where utility companies have brought in crews from other states to get power back to their customers.

What this means is that we need to be prepared to provide emergency heat for our families for up to a week. If the damage is so significant that it will require you to be without power for longer than one week, you might be best served finding another location to reside in until power is restored.
 
 
My Emergency Heat Plan

For me personally, a whole home generator with 500lb+ of fuel stored isn’t feasible. If we lose heat in cooler temperatures, my plan is to have everyone cohabitate in one room. It is far easier to heat and maintain warmth in one room versus the entire house. I own Mr. Heater F232000 Indoor-Safe Heater, and have multiple 20lb propane tanks. To use 20lb or larger tanks, you also need to purchase a propane hose assembly.

Caution does need to be taken to make sure fresh air is allowed to circulate while using the heaters, but modern day indoor rated heaters are a safe and viable option.

I plan on placing blankets over windows to add a layer of insulation to cause heat loss through them to be minimal. Since water lines freezing is a real danger, water would be shut off going to most of the house, and a small trickle of water would be maintained to the rest of the rooms where running water was needed.

If you’re looking for an emergency heat/off grid heat option that is a bit bigger and could heat the entire house, there are several options. It is out of the scope of this article, but you could research wood stoves, pellet/corn stoves and Rocket Mass Heaters from Permies.com for just three examples.
 
 
Candles

Candles can provide some heat, and light but we will only use them as a last resort. As I explain in Candle Safety:

“We had a couple different scented candles burning for a few days when Trudee noticed her asthma was acting up. Then she noticed a thin layer of soot on the surface of things here and there. (Note: We don’t have a fireplace.)”

We still have several candles for emergencies and barter if needed, but don’t burn them anymore.
 
 
Cooking

While this article is about heat, there is a good chance that if you don’t have heat, you might not have a means to cook. I personally decided to use propane as my fuel for cooking as well. I have camp stoves and the BBQ that can be used to prepare meals. We also have a fire pit and a small amount of wood that would last us a couple weeks or so for cooking with.
 
 
Other Information

I’ve written two other articles that might be of interest. One is called Off Grid Fuels,. In it, I explain the pluses and minuses of various storable fuels. I explore propane in depth in Propane for Fuel Storage.

 
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The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend is Not a Voting Strategy

The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend is Not a Voting StrategyI want to take this opportunity to give you something to think about before you head out to the polls tomorrow. First, a little background on myself. For many years I voted right down the Republican Party line. I now, however, consider myself an independent, with conservative values and libertarian leanings.
I used to follow politics closely, but over the last few years I have learned a lot about the inner workings of government and have become disenfranchised with our broken system.

In 2008 I voted for John McCain. I didn’t like everything he stood for, and while I still believe he was a far better choice than Obama, I have seen some of the things he has said and am embarrassed I voted for him.

I am tired of feeling like I voted for the lesser of two evils. Here is an analogy.

You’re trapped in a coffin and two men are nailing the top down. One is using a pneumatic nail gun and is quickly driving a nail in every half inch. The other man is using a hammer and nails, obviously going slower, and is adding more space between the nails. However, he is still nailing the lid to your coffin.

I have heard people say that the two parties are the same. I don’t believe that but I do believe that the lines that used to define them have become blurred in far too many areas. Both parties have increased our debt to unsustainable levels. They have increased the size of government and they have stripped away our God given rights one by one.

Both parties campaign the same way; candidates slander their opponents instead of building the case for what they have done and why we should vote for them. I have actually thanked God for a DVR so I can fast forward through campaign commercials.

I’m tired of campaign promises that are quickly forgotten about or laughed about and put back on the shelf, only to come out again for the next election. Take ObamaCare for example; how many candidates during the last election took a stand saying they would repeal ObamaCare? If it was their first election they may have believed it and were just naïve. But if they were already in, they knew ObamaCare is here to stay and were pandering /lying to get votes.

Here is an image of my options for the US Senate race along with some questions asked by the Minnesota Family Institute. The answers were gathered by questionnaire, recorded votes, media reports and public statements. If the candidate did not respond to the questionnaire they were given follow up calls and emails.

US Senate

As you can see, the republican candidate chose not to comment on any social issue. In this day and age, and with the level of effort that went into getting answers, if we don’t know the answer, it is because the candidate feels their answer would jeopardize their chances with their voting base. I actually respect Al Franken more; while he’ll never get my vote and I disagree with most of what he says, at least he has the guts to say it.

How am I supposed to be okay with voting for someone who I only agree with on certain key issues? The enemy of my enemy is my friend is not a valid strategy for foreign policy, nor a valid voting strategy. Both lead to problems down the road.

Some of you might be thinking that not voting for the lesser of two evils is the same as voting for the bigger evil. I used to think that way, so I understand it. But that way of thinking is like saying that sitting in a room filled with second hand smoke is healthy because you didn’t smoke anything. What I am doing by not voting for either evil is simply leaving the room.

When you vote for someone, it is an endorsement of that person. I will no longer put my stamp of approval on people that only support a small segment of my beliefs. My integrity means more than that to me.

I still plan on voting; there were a few candidates that answered all of the questions in a manner that I can support. If there isn’t a candidate running for an office that I can support, I plan to write a name in.

I don’t believe that either party has my best interests in mind. I still think they will add debt, grow government, and take liberties when they can. So I plan to make the best life for my family that I possibly can. I plan on continuing to prepare, so that when the cards begin to fall from the weight of the staggering debt, we can weather it and any other storm that may come our way.

My name is Chris Ray, and I approve this message. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

 
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Q/A with AlertsUSA on Current Events


In our last Q/A session, North Korea was one of the leading topics in the news. I want to thank AlertsUSA for taking the time to answer these questions. Due to circumstances beyond our control there was a little delay, but the information is still very relevant. I also wanted to let everyone know that AlertsUSA offers $20 their yearly membership to Preparedness Club members. That one benefit pays for half of the yearly Preparedness Club membership alone.
 
 

Attacks by islmists

Chris:
Since 9/11, we have seen multiple jihadi’s calling for attacks on American soil, yet there have only been a few successful lone wolf style attacks. What are the chances that they saw how we chased the Taliban and the terrorist camps out of Afghanistan and Al-Qaida out of Iraq, and now know that if they don’t hurt us worse than before, we’ll roust them from the countries that they are based in?
What are the chances that our enemies are waiting for something big enough to hurt us bad enough for us to not be able to respond?


AlertsUSA:
While there have only been a few successful domestic attacks since 9/11, this is not for lack of trying. As we have written about within our Threat Journal newsletter on multiple occasions, a casual conversation with any federal law enforcement official or member of the special operations community, if directly asked, will reveal there are a constant stream of individuals, organizations and foreign states attempting to do harm to this country as well as our citizens and interests abroad.

As an example, a major counter-terrorism operation was undertaken within the last few weeks in SE Michigan (home to the nations’ largest mosque) and several other locations across the country in order to roll up an active, very serious plot. No, you will not find links to media reports about the operation. It was all done quickly and quietly by specialized CT professionals with no fanfare.

Why are these incidents not shared with the public? There are a multitude of reasons. On one hand, there are few tactical or strategic benefits and it may actually hurt other ongoing efforts by revealing sources and methods. There are also few benefits to having such operations dissected by media organizations and political opportunists. The real professionals don’t want the publicity. There is also a very real concern that if the true tempo and nature of such threats were publicized it would likely result in significant backlash against specific religious / ethnic groups.

In the end, while a majority of Americans have become complacent thinking that terror organizations have stopped trying, or are holding back, or that all terror threats are sprouted by the U.S. government to keep the “sheeple” scared, the truth of the matter is that these attempts happen regularly.

Chris: We’re all aware of ISIS and the way they are slaughtering Christians in the Middle East. Today, FOX News reported this:

“A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.”

I think ISIS would obviously love to launch attacks here on the US mainland, but how much of a threat do you think it is? Secondly, do you know how seriously government is or isn’t taking it?

AlertsUSA: The threat is very real and we know from first hand experience and regular interaction with those at the pointed end of the spear that the U.S. government is taking it very seriously.

Here again, while CT professionals prefer to operate outside of the spotlight and not have their actions dissected by media organizations and political opportunists, there are a growing number of U.S. citizens whom have traveled abroad over the last few years to join the jihad and are now returning home. Then there are the literally thousands of Muslims who are citizens of European Union countries whom have done the same. And as citizens of the EU enjoy visa-free travel to the U.S., this only amplifies the threat. Then add to this those Americans who are not inclined to travel abroad, but are nonetheless similarly motivated.

The threat is very real, as can be seen with the recent beheading in of a woman in Oklahoma who refused to convert to Islam. More is coming.

Additional note from Chris. It would seem AlertsUSA is of course correct, the most recent attack by an islamist occurred in Canada. I would also point out that the beheading in Oklahoma is the first killing of that type, but there have been several lone wolf Islamic attacks in recent years.
 
 
Russia

Chris: The cold war may have ended, but Russia has never stopped its saber rattling. I remember in 1991, while on board the USS Abraham Lincoln Air-Craft Carrier, the Russian Bear were flying into our air space and F18s were being scrambled to intercept them. With all of the Russian advances on Ukraine, the US and NATO response, they have stepped up the saber rattling to a level not many are aware of. The Business Insider.com recently said in an article titled “Russian Strategic Bombers Near Canada Practice Cruise Missile Strikes on US “that at least 16 bomber incursions by the bear occurred in just 10 days recently.

“Northern Command has confirmed that Russian strategic bomber flights increased sharply over the past six months.”

Last month, at least 16 bomber incursions by the Russians took place within the northwestern U.S. and Canadian air defense zones over a period 10 days. It was the largest number of incursions since the end of the Cold War. U.S. fighter jets intercepted the Russian aircraft and followed them until they exited the defense zone. The Tu-95 is a nuclear-capable bomber that is outfitted with six AS-15 nuclear-armed cruise missiles. The missiles have a range of over 1,800 miles.”

AlertsUSA: We all believe that Russia is just saber rattling, but Russia is not North Korea, and Putin is not Kim Jung Un. Russia has the capability to deal a knockout blow several times over. With the way they are flying these mock attacks, they could fly several Tu-95s and launch a hundred nukes before we were even aware they were headed our way.

I try not to delve into prophecy often, but those familiar with Ezekiel 39 will know that Russia, or Magog, will lead many of the world’s forces in an attack against Israel. I have said before that I believe for this to happen, something will need to happen to remove America as Israel’s protector.

All that being said, what are your thoughts on Russia, their threat to the US, and their threat to the countries that were a part of the former USSR?

This is complicated, but important.

YES, Russia does pose a threat to the U.S. and NATO.

BUT, the actions of the U.S. and NATO also pose a strategic threat to Russia.

Example: The proposed missile shield the U.S. has been attempting to get placed in the Baltic States is not for protection of Europe from missiles fired from nations such as Iran. It is intended to be able to take out Russian strategic rockets during the boost phase. Russia knows this and has publicly threatened to preemptively strike any such installations.

Example: U.S. meddling in Ukrainian politics poses another strategic threat to Russia.

Consider the following:

In December last year, Asst. Secretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland, delivered a presentation in front of National Press Club during which she revealed that the U.S. government has invested more than 5 BILLION dollars in helping destabilize the pro-Russian Ukrainian government and to develop “democratic institutions and a good form of government,” all in an effort to bring about Ukraine’s entry into the EU, and ultimately, NATO.

Next, consider the geography of the region. Looking at a map you will see that the Black Sea is Western Russia’s singular warm-water access point. All other ports in the North of the country, with the exception of Murmansk near the northeast corner of Finland, are blocked by ice at least 6 months out of each year. The only reason Murmansk remains ice free is due to the warm waters of the N. Atlantic current. Although 9 time zones in size, more than 90% of Russia’s population lives in the Western third of the country. If Crimea, and thus access to the Black Sea, were to end up in NATO hands, Russia would lose access to the world’s oceans for at least half of the year. This is a huge strategic threat to their defenses, to international trade and more.

Next, the Russian Navy has kept its Black Sea Fleet stationed at a naval base on the Crimean peninsula since the late 1700s and the time of Napoleon. The Port of Sevastopol has a large, deep, defensible harbor and is accessible in all seasons. In 2010, Russia negotiated an agreement with Ukraine that allows use of the strategically located Sevastopol naval base through 2042 in exchange for discounts on natural gas.

Ukraine becoming a NATO member would eliminate their ability to use this base, which is critical for their access to the world’s oceans.

Finally, playing “follow the money” it should not be surprising that Ukraine is a critical corridor for oil and gas pipelines from Russia and the Caspian region into Europe. These pipelines and the product they carry generate huge profits (hundreds of billions) annually for the Russian government. To have Ukraine come under Western influence and potentially join NATO would put that Russian state revenue stream at risk. Hence, another strategic threat.

With just these few items (there are many more), it is easy to see how Russia is being backed into a corner and forced to exert their power and to sabre rattle. Their strategic interests and national security are directly threatened.

And this is where the danger comes home.

Russian President Putin, Prime Minister Medvedev and the Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov, have on multiple occasions in the last 3 years made explicitly clear that Russia would use nuclear weapons, including in a preemptive capacity, if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation These scenarios include conventional attacks on Russia or it’s strategic partners, placement of missile shield installations in former Soviet-bloc countries and more.

 
 
Ebola

Chris: I have said in previous articles that I think the Ebola threat here in the USA is minimal. However, you recently had an alert that said:

“Air ambulance company used for Ebola evac flights admits moving “a lot” more cases to US than pub disclosed. State Dept. mum on details & treatment locations.”

AlertsUSA: While I still think the threat of it spreading like it has in Africa is lower here in US, this is more concerning. Do your sources have any other information on the extent of this practice?
In the time since your questions were originally posed, much has transpired.

While we have no further references to “secret” flights, take note that Judicial Watch, the conservative public watchdog group, says in a new report that the President is “actively formulating plans” to admit Ebola-infected non-citizens into the U.S. for treatment.
 
 

Other Threats?

Chris: What other threats should we be paying attention to that I haven’t covered?

AlertsUSA: In the end, I would say that while it is extremely easy for people to become complacent because it seems the U.S. rarely comes under attack or that nothing too bad ever happens, this is an extremely dangerous mindset. Particularly for those of us who profess to be Christians.

Just consider where we are as a Nation:

The dominant political party in America has adopted and ferociously defends the sins listed in Romans 1 as their national platform. Free birth control and the promotion of fornication, abortion on demand up to and including late term (murder), the widespread promotion of homosexuality and the codifying of homosexual marriage into Federal law (and the “hearty approval of those who practice it”), and on and on and on. All of this is a gross violation of God’s law.

With all of this and more happening on a national level, can anyone really think that we are a Nation under God’s blessing and protection? Hardly. Romans 1 is explicitly clear that God WILL judge nations which go down this line.

Pray, Prepare and Stay Aware.

Ten Fall Preparedness Projects

Fall Prepper Projects

The leaves are turning beautiful colors, the temperatures are cooling, the air is crisp; this is my favorite time of year! This is also the time of year where we should take care of a few projects to square away our preps before winter sets in. Even if you don’t live in MinnesSNOWta, there are plenty of things to be done! Here are ten fall preparedness projects I came up with.

  1. Change out the clothing in your BOB from summer gear to fall/winter gear.
  2. Gather and save fallen leaves for next year’s compost. Along with kitchen scraps, a great approach is to add equal parts brown (fallen leaves) and green, (grass clippings). You can save the leaves in plastic bins, or in garbage bags, just make sure they are in a dry area; if they get wet, they’ll rot.
  3. Cover crop or mulch over your garden beds. One great method for this is mulching leaves as you mow, and dumping this on the beds.
  4. I suggest checking your smoke alarms twice a year on daylight savings, which is on November 2nd this year.
  5. Flash lights; if you keep batteries in your flashlights, make sure they haven’t started to corrode and make sure the flashlight still works. Another way to keep the batteries near the flashlight but not inside it is to put them in a plastic bag and secure the bag to the flashlight with a rubber-band.
  6. Winterize your car. By this, I don’t just mean the usual car care. Make sure you have cold weather preps in your car; Blankets, Heat for the gas tank, inspect ice scraper and jumper cables, replace if necessary.
  7. Make sure the medicine cabinet is ready for colder weather, especially if you have a little petri dish, err, sorry, I mean child in public schools. I swear as soon as the kids started back to school, we started in with the sniffles! I include cold and flu meds, cough drops and syrup, throat spray and also lotion for cracking itchy skin and Chap Stick.
  8. Get your heating system inspected and tuned up. Usually less than $100 can get you a good inspection.
  9. Consider your emergency heat and what you might do if power goes out for a few days.
  10. If you live where it snows, get your snow blower tuned up well before the first major snowfall. I see at least one story every year after the first major snowstorm on how there are no new snow blowers available, and small engine repair shops are backed up.

Can you think of any projects that can help us get ready for winter?
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Have You Ever Seen Something That You Just Couldn’t Explain?

Have You Ever Seen Something That You Just Couldn’t Explain

Have you ever experienced something that didn’t make sense? Something that did not compute with your rational self, so you convinced yourself you must not have seen things correctly? I would wager we all have. For the most part, these things are harmless, but it is those times where it could be harmful that I want to concentrate on today.

I saw a video years ago of a church shooting. A man walked down the aisle toward the pastor, shooting as he went. I couldn’t find the video now, but I believe he made it to the front of the church, shooting the pastor several times before he was stopped. Later, when parishioners were questioned, some said they assumed it was a play.

If you live in a suburb and see what you think, at first, is a bear, don’t dismiss it as a large dog. I live 30 miles from Minneapolis, in a fairly large suburb. The town next door had a bear wander in just a couple months ago. If you were walking your dog or small child, a hungry bear could be a big problem! The same can be said for any wildlife! In the last five years, I have seen reports of a puma, coyote, and an alligator all within 15 miles of me.

A few years back, while driving to work one morning I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was, at the time, what looked like a very large model plane, flying fast and very low, less than fifty yards from the road. This was after we started hearing about drones being used in combat but before we started seeing images of them. I knew this was too big and fast to be a model plane, and too small and low to be even a small passenger plane, not to mention too military-looking to be a civilian passenger plane. At the time, I figured it had to be a drone. Later, when images started popping up of some of the drones used, I saw one very similar to the “UFO” I had seen earlier.

Big deal, I saw a flying object I believed at the time to be a drone. I’ll admit I was fascinated by how this thing was flying. Having been an aviation electrician in the Navy, attached to an Aircraft carrier for four years, I have seen hundreds of planes fly. I had never seen anything this small move like this. The operator was clearly trying to get somewhere before rush hour set in and the sun was fully up.

Now, let’s say this happened ten years from now and drone strikes on American soil are rare but do happen. What if the car in front of me was believed to be a terrorist and the drone opened fire on it? If I don’t trust and believe my eyes and act immediately, I could be caught up in the attack.

In the book The Survivors Club, Author Ben Sherwood explores a theory developed by a man named John Leach called “The 10/80/10 rule”. In summary, the rule states that the top 10% of people in a crisis excel; they think clearly and take immediate action. The middle group comprises 80% of people; they are “quite simply stunned and bewildered”; “reasoning is significantly impaired and thinking is difficult”. The last 10% of people are the “ones you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”.

A few pages later, he explains something called ‘behavioral inaction’; “The current theory of behavioral inaction goes like this: As your frontal lobes process the site of an airplane wing on fire, they seek to match the information with memories of similar situations in the past. If you have no stored experience of a plane crash, your brain can’t find a match and gets stuck in a loop trying and failing to come up with the right response. Hence: immobility.”

We can prepare ourselves for a great many things that we’ve never actually lived through. I do this by inserting myself in situations I see in movies, TV, news stories, books and so on. But we should also try and condition ourselves to take action immediately even if we can’t understand, process or make sense of what we are seeing.

If you ever see something that doesn’t jive with how things should be or normally are, that is your intuition telling you to pay attention! Don’t let your intellect silence it! Pay attention to whatever is out of place, if it turns out to be nothing, move on. If it turns out to be something, your mind is primed to take action.

If you see a 75 foot lizard spewing fire, a spaceship descend from the sky, Super Mario and Big foot playing checkers, someone may have slipped you a funky mushroom. Seriously though, there is a saying that goes, “If you hear the thunder of hooves, think horses, not zebras”. While I agree, you should still get out of the way and make sure what it is once you’re safe.

 
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The Ups and Downs of Finding Like Minded People To Group With

From the beginning of time, humans have sought out each other to form community. “God did not make man to be alone”, “there is safety in numbers”, “it takes a village to raise a child” and countless other adages, quips, sayings and so forth exist about this topic. They all boil down to the same core point; we need other people for protection, to provide the things that we are unable to provide and for comradery just to name a few.

The goal of this article is to take a look at why you may want to consider forming a group, how we can find some likeminded people now, some things to consider before opening up your group to others, and some governing principles you may want to consider.
 
 
The Myth of Self-Reliance

While I think being self-reliant is a noble goal and that we should strive to be as self-sufficient and self-reliant as we can be, it is my belief that it is impossible to be truly independent of anyone else for all but the extremely wealthy.

Consider every item you’ve purchased over the last year; clothing, food, energy, paper goods, gasoline, self-defense items, entertainment. How many of those things did you have to rely on someone else to provide?

If someone owns acreage with a large garden, fruit trees and livestock and can grow all the food needed to feed themselves and their livestock, they have some of the biggest issues solved. Say they have enough solar panels to provide for all of their electricity and wood for heat. You might correctly assume that they are self-reliant.

Are they able to provide all of the labor needed to manage that property? How will they provide clothing? What if they need medical attention? Pay for taxes? All of these things mean they need to depend on others. If they produce a surplus from their land, both in terms of livestock and crops, they could sell that surplus to pay for some of these things, but then they would be dependent on people to purchase from them.
 
 
Where, oh Where, Oh Where Can They Be?

I am frequently asked, “where can one find likeminded people nearby, to get to know and possibly form a group with?” Here is every idea I have! I am hoping others add to it in the comment section.

Here is the most realistic answer, and one you might not like; your backyard. Through my church, I have been blessed to meet several other prepper’s, some of whom I’ve become close friends with. However, my church is 20 miles away and some of those close friends live even further than that! In a major survival event, the chances that we’ll be able to group up are low.

I’m not completely discounting the idea of forming long distance MAG’s (Mutual Aid Group). However, in the majority of small to medium scenarios, those that live near you, while possibly not as likeminded as we would prefer, are far more available.

Take these recent riots in Ferguson, MO. If one lived in Ferguson, they could have talked with their neighbors and agreed to watch over each other’s property. They could be from completely different political spectrums, but in that situation, an agreement could probably have been made for added vigilance. Now they might frown on what your response is if thugs try getting into one of your homes, but you don’t have to agree on every aspect to agree to look out for each other and keep each other alerted.

How can you introduce the subject of preparedness or an agreement to have each other’s backs? As with anytime you talk to others about preparedness, speak in generalities and don’t let on to how prepared you are.

This isn’t a one size fits all question. If you don’t know your neighbors well, consider getting to know them first. You might find out they are not the kind of people you want to be grouped with, or you might find they are the perfect prepping neighbor!

Social media isn’t going away, and it can be a great tool. You could create a facebook group and invite all of your neighbors. There is, however, an alternative, specifically created for this called Nextdoor.com. It is a social networking site for neighbors; you can find out more Nextdoor.com here.

Another way you could build relationships within your community is by having a block party/potluck. Everyone could bring a different side dish and their own main dish and you could grill.

One solid way to gauge someone’s level of interest or acceptance of prepping is through gardening, sharing your extra produce. Conversations about the extra veggies can lead to the reasons you grow them, which can lead to conversations on preserving, which can lead to conversations on having some extra food around. While they might not have a garden, you could offer to teach them how to can, freeze and otherwise store veggies they might buy at the local farmers market.

You could gauge someone’s willingness for an agreement to watch each other’s backs by their interest in a neighborhood watch. You could provide the neighborhood crime statistics from the local police department. If people aren’t interested, you’ve planted a seed. If things start to fall apart, they’ll probably be much more interested, and you’ve already laid the groundwork.
 
 
What Kind of People Should You Group With?

I think you should group with people that are as likeminded as possible. You might think I would say only Christian, but I have met some great non-believers, and have met some Christians that I don’t care to spend another minute with this side of heaven. To be ideal for me, it would be a group of preparedness-minded believers in Christ, because I think that could have a lot of upside. More on this later.

There are preppers from all walks of life. There are extremists from both sides of the spectrum. There are actually the stereotypical Rambo-wannabe-survivalists, and there are pot growing, tree hugging hippies. To me the term “Preppers” means anyone who prepares. So, if you’re forming a group or looking to join one, make sure they are truly your type of preppers.
 
 
Not In Your Area

Let’s say that you, for whatever reason, really want to look for people outside of your neighborhood to group up with. If you’re seeking them out online, you’ve probably already determined they are at least preparedness-minded. If they’re smart, they won’t divulge how well prepared and neither will you. I, personally, would be hesitant to trust someone who is a completely open book unless they’ve got a good reason to be. If you’re looking to join with them, anyone else they’ve been an open book with is now a liability to you. On the other hand, someone who is vague and cannot or will not answer direct questions that don’t reveal their complete level of preparedness should raise some concern as well.

I suppose there are different reasons to look for someone to join with that lives outside of one’s area. For the sake of this article, my reason is to have a remote bug out location. Before I would consider meeting in person, I would get to know them as best as I could online. If you meet on a forum, search through their old forum posts. If you meet on facebook, look through their old postings. Spend some time getting to know them via email.

Before you go in person, make sure their situation is what they claim it to be. If you have the address, doing a satellite map search will show you the approximate terrain but won’t show you the exact boundaries of the land they own. If they claimed it to be on a lake and the lake is five miles away, that would be a hint that something isn’t right.

Here are some resources I have found that can aid in finding likeminded people. I am not endorsing any of them, and if you decide to use them, please use caution.

ArkHaven Ministries: Acts Model Christian Community.

PrepperLink: Social media outlet for preppers.

AbleHaven: Social network for wandering families.

PrepperGroups.com Blog and forum

American Preppers Network One of the largest forums with the goals of connecting people in your area.

Meet Up Not just for prepping, but a great way to connect with those near you interested in various topics.

Other ways to connect with prepper’s is by conversation on facebook and twitter. I haven’t been a regular to any forums in years but I know there are some very high quality ones out there.

If you have a suggestion please post it in the comment or via email to Chris {at} preparedchristian [dot] net and I will add it to this list.
 
 
Interview Potential Members

I would really treat a meeting with potential group members as a job interview. You don’t need to know how many beans they’ve got but knowing what got them interested, when they started, if their family is on board, what they would do if money was no object are pertinent questions. Ask questions about them and their preparedness journey; how they handle conflict, what benefits they see in a group, what potential conflicts they might see, etc. Ask questions that matter to your group. If you think it is important that every child learn to shoot and every adult carries a firearm, you might want to see if that is a problem as well.

My all-time favorite prepper fiction book is Lights Out. I think this is probably the most realistic depiction of how things would unfold in a large scale event. One of the things I liked is that the group of neighbors in Lights Out have limited space but realize they need to bring in other people. They decide to bring in people that complement their skills sets.

If you decide to form a group with others, it might be a good idea to do the same. If you’re an avid hunter with all the gear one could possibly need but have no idea how to grow a carrot, someone with gardening experience might be a good idea. More than a few people have contacted me or written a comment that they would really like to join a group. The best advice I can give you is to know various skills.

Your physical condition and the equipment you bring to the table could matter. If things go sideways and I form a group, if an elderly person who has gardened all their life and knows what will grow in this area, how to propagate, how to store excess, etc. is looking to join, in my opinion, they are just as valuable as a 25 year old man who is in great shape and is willing to work. I’m simplifying this because it would really depend on what holes my group had but you get the idea.
 
 
Leadership and Conflict Resolution

If your group consists of more than a couple families, coming up with some form of leadership might be a good idea. I mentioned before that in my ideal group it would be like minded Christian preppers and I would add “that I get along with”. The reason for this is that we are given a leadership model in the book of Act’s; a group of people chosen to be the head, all looking to Christ for Guidance. Acts doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the workings of this group but I would imagine they spent time together to discuss important topics, each giving their take on the subject. I imagine they prayed together, seeking Gods will on important topics. We’re told they rolled bones to decide who would join as a Disciple; this tells me that even they had a hard time now and then knowing His will. We’re also told they delegated some lower responsibilities to other trusted people.

We’re given a good guide as to what the standard should be for the leadership council. To me, the same standards suggested for an Elder in 1st Timothy 3:2-7 and Acts 6:3 make good sense;

“So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.

He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.

He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.

For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.

Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.”

Act’s 6:3

“And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.”

I don’t know that I would say being a man was a qualification, but I think the same standards should apply to women who want to be in the leadership role.

If your group is formed the group decides who will be in charge, I would make sure there is a contract of sorts in place; something that places some checks and balances on the leader and offers protection to everyone.

I think that no matter what leadership route you take, a contract is a good idea. On it, have an agreement that no one will sue anyone for any reason; deal with your strife internally.

Jesus gave us the model for this in Mathew 18:15-17:

”If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Even if you join with a group not using a Christian model, deal with your “stuff” internally. If someone wrongs you and refuses to make it right, there is mediation. If they break the law and we are living in a time where the rule of law stands, have them arrested. If we are WROL, take it to the leadership head and deal with it internally.

I hope I have been able to give you some things to consider and some resources to use to find others. If you have any, please add them to the comments.

 
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