February 19, 2018

Review of Pulse by L.R. Burkard


Pulse by L.R. Burkard

I was given an advanced copy of the book Pulse some time ago. The book has recently been published, so I thought I would write a review for all of you. The author has agreed to give away two copies! See the end of this article for details on how to enter.

The book follows what life is like for thee adolescent girls and their families following a pulse from an EMP. The book is written as journal entries from the girls, which I thought was interesting. One family is fully unprepared. Another family is unprepared as well, but luck seems to be on their side. The third family is a Christian family who has been preparing for something like this for some time.

Each chapter follows one of the main characters and their family as events unfold. I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical about whether I thought I could get into the book, as I have a hard time relating to most people (I have Aspergers Syndrome), let alone a teenage girl! But it was actually a nice change from the archetypical male lead of the majority of books in this niche.

The book deals with some gritty situations that people would actually be faced with if they’re unprepared and we see an event like an EMP. Because there are three characters, each with their own chapter, there were a couple times where we reached the end of a chapter and I was really left wanting to know what was going to happen, and was a little frustrated that it was time for the other two to chime in! This is an excellent use of “leave them wanting more”.

The book has faith intertwined throughout, as the Christian family seeks the Lord on varying decisions, but I don’t think that it beats you over the head with it. I doubt that most readers of this blog would think so anyway.

There are also some action sequences, and they’re not over the top where character’s are special force ninja’s.

All in all, if you’re needing a new book, I think this one is well worth the money; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

To enter for a chance to win one of two books, you just need to leave one comment using a valid email address when you sign up to leave comments. If you’ve already signed up and possibly left comments in the past, then you probably already have used a valid email. The author will chose the winner, and I will pass along the winners email to her. Contest ends on Friday 8/21.

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Update on Christian Preparedness Retreats

There was so much interest in the Christian preparedness retreat that I have an exciting update that I want to share with all of you! Many of you said that you were interested but would not be willing to drive. This led me to contemplate “what if” with Trudee, with me saying how fantastic it would be if I could do this full time and we prayed about it. The next day I was contacted by a reader who is associated with a Bible camp in Virginia and they want to host a retreat as well! This has led me to the decision to start a company offering these retreats around the country, to any Bible camp, regular camp or Church that is willing to host one.

I have a few things I really could use your help with! First; prayer! I am completely out of my depth here and trusting God to lead the way! Please pray for wisdom and that I am able to see His direction.

Second is the name, as I am stumped! Here are a few I have come up with, but I am open to suggestions.

A. Practical Readiness Retreats
B. Practical Christian Readiness Retreats
C. Christian Readiness Retreats
D. Readiness Retreats
E. Prepared Christian Retreats

I have a few thoughts here; I want to stay away from “prepper” or “preparedness” in the name, as I want the class to draw non-preppers who might be put off by “prepper” because of shows like Doomsday Preppers and the like. I try to keep everything I do rooted in the practical and I think readiness is pretty non-threatening. I go back and forth on having “Christian” in the name. I want believers to know the retreat is rooted in Christ but that will be easily distinguished by looking at the content. I also need to keep in mind what people type into the search engines or address bar when they do an internet search. I almost didn’t add option E, as I am not sure if I want to keep this completely separated or not and it has “Prepared” in the title.

The last thing I need your help with is finding other venues that may be interested in hosting a retreat. If you’re affiliated with or spend time at a Bible camp, gauge the interest and have them contact me at Chris {at} Preparedchristian {dot} net. The same goes for a church or other venue that might be interested! This is a great opportunity to bring in extra income for the camp.

My church did a one day seminar and I know others have told me their church put on a seminar or held a bible study, but many more of you have told me that your church seemed apathetic or against the idea. This is why I think a Bible camp is such a great idea! The classroom setting is great for some topics, but teaching about making fire really needs to be done outdoors.

Retreat Design

The retreats will be designed to fit the venue and attendance. If there are enough people attending, we could have as many as four classes going on at one time in breakout sessions, with everyone attending the main sessions.

This brings up an inevitable problem; missing a class that you wanted to take because you’re taking a class you wanted to attend a little more. For the time being, the only solution I have for this is to have popular classes taught multiple times, though I don’t know if this will be done either. If these retreats catches on, I could eventually offer recordings of classes available for a small fee for those who attend a retreat and possibly offer them to those who can’t attend as well.

The two camps I am working with now have both expressed interest in holding a retreat multiple times a year. I think this is a great idea because, for example, spring isn’t hunting season! Therefore, holding a class on the basics of hunting and dressing game isn’t ideal then, but in the fall it would be a great fit! The same could be said for canning, foraging and other classes as well. It also gives those who have jobs with busy seasons a chance to come when their work load is less.

To protect anonymity, I will not be maintaining attendee information after the retreat.

The layout for the weekend will contain 2-3 main sessions, and 6-8 breakout sessions. If there is enough people attending, we can have 2-3 breakout sessions going on at one time.

The price will vary by venue, but a ballpark price will be $300-$500 per person; this price includes lodging and food and the usual camp entertainment activities. If you want to camp in a tent the price would be less. Some of the camps will have varying levels of cabins. The prices could reflect this with dormitory style cabins being cheaper than private 2-4 person cabins.

I am going to try and arrange it so that financial aid is available for a certain amount of guests per retreat for those who would like to attend but are on a restricted budget.

I am going to try to work with the camps to have a day pass, for those who don’t want to sleep there for whatever reason.

Obviously, with multiple classes being taught at the same time, I will need other instructors. Some classes will require local instructors, like bee keeping and foraging for local plants. I am also hoping that I can find some high caliber instructors willing to travel with me. These instructors will be vetted by me to ensure quality of their topic and instruction. I will also be doing background checks on instructors to ensure guest safety. All instructors will be paid for their time, plus other incentives.

The vetting process is still something I am trying to work out. The easiest way would be for me to watch them teach their material; either in person or by video. However, not everyone has a youtube channel, a recording of them teaching or has taught a class like this. If anyone has any ideas, I am open to hearing them. For now, maybe a conversation by phone with all potential instructors is in order.

If you are an instructor who would like to be considered as either a local instructor or one who would be willing to fly to other locations, please send an email to instructor {at} Preparedchristian {dot} net containing:

• Your name and phone number
• Topic(s) you want to instruct on.
• If you have an example of your content, send it as well.

I am looking for high quality vendors to showcase their products and/or services and be available to answer questions from guests. If you offer preparedness, homesteading, survival, outdoors, gardening, self-defense or other related products and/or services and would be interested in having a booth, please contact me at chris {at} Preparedchristian {dot} net.

This list is not inclusive of every topic, just what I have had time to scratch together so far. I have a lot more to add and a lot more filling in to do. However, if you see something missing, feel free to add a comment and let me know. After all, these retreats are for you. Tell me what you want to learn about! If I don’t know about it, I will try to find someone who does.
Here is a shortened outline. The full one is 10 pages so far.

These are potential for all future retreats. I am still deciding which breakout sessions will be covered for the retreat at Camp Bethel in Virginia.
Main Sessions:

Why Should I prepare and Is It Biblical?
o Taken from the free eBook I wrote. This class will cover the meat of why I started to prepare and why I believe God not only allows preparedness, but mandates it.

5 Basic Human needs part one
o Water
 How to purify
 Where to find it
 Storage
o Food
 Food storage rules
 What to store
 Building Food Storage
 Shelf life
 How to store it
 Enemies of food storage
o Medical
 OTC meds to store
 Ways to stock a small surplus of meds
 Shelf life of meds
 Veterinarian meds

5 Basic Human needs part two
o Shelter
 Some topics could be taken from “Off grid (for short term outages)”
 Duct Tape and Plastic, Really?
 Expedient nuclear shelters in the home
 Home security
• Safe rooms
• How to handle an intruder
• Harden access points
• Hardening your yard

o Energy
 Generator
 Battery bank that can be charged from a car
 Rocket mass heater
 Off grid fuels (what and how to store)
 Solar
 Wind
 Fuel Storage

o Security
 Is it Christian to practice self-defense?
 Security is a women’s responsibility too
 Willingness to use force and permission to do so
 Use of violence to stop violence
 Awareness
 Personal security
 Neighborhood security
 Personal security plans
 Family security plans
 Keeping watch after SHTF
 Building a defensive battery
Breakout Sessions

• Miscellaneous topics:
o Christians and Preparedness
o Preparedness Mindset
o Threat assessment
o Bugging out
o Off Grid (short term outages)
o Communicating during a disaster
o Staying informed now and post StuffHTF
o I am NOT a victim
o Car Safety
o When spouses don’t agree (on prepping or a firearm)
o Building a House Church
o Building a preparedness community
o Money and the future or the American Economy
o Wood Gas
o Prepper Tips
o Securing data and personal information
o Family preparedness
o Fire safety now and after SHTF

• Outdoor topics:
o Hunting
o Fishing
o Wilderness skills
o High ropes/rock climbing
o Tracking
o Archery
o Trapping
o Forestry management
o Fire building
o Permaculture (basic introduction)
o Gardening topics
o Hugelkultur
o Introduction to livestock for a homestead
o Aquaponics
o Hydroponics
o Foraging
o Bee Keeping

• Cooking:
o Butchering livestock or wild game
o Wild game recipes & cooking
o Cooking with dried foods (from food you’ve stored or purchased such as dried beans)
o Canning or pickling
o Cheese making
o Cooking with various outdoor methods
o Canning

• Medical/first aid
o General first aid
o Wilderness first aid
o Home remedies
o Colloidal silver
o Essential oils

• Self-defense:
o Situational Awareness
o Physiological changes
o Verbal de-escalation
o Martial arts
o How to escape from zip ties and duct tape
o Firearm Training
o Non-lethal self-defense
o Force on force training aka stress inoculation
o Spiritual self-defense
The First Retreat

Camp Bethel, located in Virginia will be hosting the first retreat! The tentative (fairly firm) date is June 19-23. This is father’s day weekend! What a great gift and event for father and son or daughter! Ladies don’t feel left out, you’re more than welcome as well.

I am working very hard to get things ready. Once I have the name decided upon, I will be purchasing the domain and will be using that as the source for distributing information. However, if you are interested in receiving information, you can sign up on the form below. You will only get updates on the Retreat at Camp Bethel.

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Do You Need to Know Outdoors Skills to Be Prepared?

When I began preparing, I researched all kinds of topics that people on forums said were important to know; implying that to truly be prepared one had to know these outdoor/primitive skills. I joined some outdoors forums, learned several new and interesting things, and then it dawned on me; I don’t spend much time in the great outdoors! While I enjoy learning these skillsets, I decided I was better served learning more practical things for me personally. I do, however, think there are a few skills everyone (even city slickers) should know. There is more on that below. Before I go any further, I want to say that this is not me saying that strictly learning basic preparedness skills is the only way to be prepared. It is me saying that who are so entrenched in their camp and believe the only way to be prepared for come what may is by knowing outdoor/primitive/bushcraft skills.

I think some of us have romanticized bugging out to the woods and surviving off the land. I think shows like Survivor Man and the many shows like it might hold some of the blame. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy these kinds of shows, but I have seen very few scenarios that I will ever be even remotely close to being in. If you’re someone who thinks you’ll bug out to the woods if the stuff hits the fan to live off the woods, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not realistic. This article titled: Living Off The Land: Delusions and Misconceptions About Hunting and Gathering explores the caloric intake of foraged plants and hunted and trapped game. This article doesn’t take into consideration all of the other people you’ll be competing against for the limited amount of game!

Long time readers will know that I believe, while these worst case events, like EMPS, are possible, they’re not very likely. Let’s say, for the sake of this article, an EMP does go off. In the vast majority of circumstances, I believe that one would be far better prepared having their 5 basic human needs met by staying home (bugging in, hunkering down, etc.), rather than bugging out to the woods. Sure, if the grid is completely down, after all my food has been eaten, I might need to head to the woods to find game, but that is a lot of “what ifs” and “maybe’s.” If I had to flee my home, I would hole up in an abandoned building before I would consider building a shelter in the woods and trying to keep Trudee the dogs and I warm.

To answer the question asked in the title of the article; “Do you need to know outdoor skills to be prepared?” My answer is: I don’t think so. If your goal is to be prepared for 95% of the things that happen every year, I think you would be better served first building Redundancy of the Five Basic Human Needs than learning how to use a bow drill or learning to make a figure four trap.

If you don’t have a grasp on the following, they might be better skills to learn first. Basics of food storage. Multiple ways to purify water. How to meet the basic needs during a grid down event, IE keeping food and medicine cool, how to keep cool without AC or provide emergency heat. The basics of survival sanitation and fire safety Also security topics like Situational Awareness and Awareness and Security in Crowds and home security as well as protecting Your neighborhood.

Please don’t think I am knocking outdoor skills. If you spend time in the outdoors hunting, hiking or doing something else, you should know them and be proficient in them. If they are just a passion, by all means, learn all you can. I also think that learning outdoor/primitive skills are a good skills to learn after you have the basics down, this will really round out your skills set. If we ever do see a prolonged grid down event, everyone will need to know outdoor skills. They can also be a great way for people, especially children to build self-confidence.
Outdoor Skills Everyone Should Know

If you live in the city, you might wonder why I think you should know some basic survival skills. Every year I see several news stories about people who were driving and either got lost, their car broke down or they got stranded somehow. Many of these people panic and make bad decisions. I think they panic because they don’t know what to do to stay alive until help comes. You might not foresee a situation that will take you into or near a remote area, but you never know what God has planned for your future!

For that reason, I think people should know a minimum of three skills; how to start a fire and keep it burning, how to build a very basic shelter, and how to Signal for help.

You’ll notice I only linked to an article I wrote on signaling for help. I was not blessed with a good sense of direction, and have spent more than my fair share of time lost. Knowing this about myself, I spent a good deal of time researching what to do when lost and wrote about it. I do know how to make a fire, and my belief on the subject is to learn how to make one with a lighter first. You should then keep a lighter in your vehicle or EDC if you are heading out. Making a bow drill and starting a fire with it, while very cool, is not realistic for the person who doesn’t spend time outdoors practicing. I also have read, in depth, on how to make various shelters, but haven’t built one, so I don’t feel comfortable telling you what to do.

Instead, I will provide some links to just a couple of the resources I have followed over the years.

The Survival Sherpa is one of my favorite outdoors mentors. You’ll learn all kinds of outdoors and survival related skills from Todd.

The Late Ron Hood is another person I learned a lot from. His wife Karen has picked up the mantle. You can purchase a wide selection of almost 30 outdoors related DVD’s from Survival.com

I also recommend the affiliated forum for Survival.com, Hoods Woods. I haven’t been an active Hoodlum for some time, but this is a fantastic place to research and ask questions.

The last resource I’ll share is Dirttime.com, where you can learn much from the three Survival Instructors who write for the site.

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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 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.

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 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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National Preparedness Month Challenge

National Preparedness Month Challenge

This is the Month the federal government sets aside to talk about Preparedness. There’ve been conversations about their effort in other articles, but I don’t want to get into that. Instead, I want to challenge you with five tasks! All but one of them is free. If you accept and meet this challenge, even if it takes you longer than this month, you will be so much more prepared!

1. Create a Living Will

Make your end of life decisions now and have them documented. During that time, your loved ones will be under huge amounts of stress and very emotional. Please do not leave these decisions for them to make during that time. Trudee and I got ours done at Legal Zoom, where the price starts at $39.

2. Serial Numbers

Make a list of serial numbers and take pictures of all expensive items. If your house is broken into, damaged or destroyed, this information will greatly increase the speed of getting your insurance claim submitted. I created a Serial Number Recording Form for you. I also recommend taking pictures and storing those images with the list of serial numbers in a couple locations; a thumb drive in a fireproof safe, in any of the online data storage solutions and even on a thumb drive in your trunk!

3. Have Redundant Bug Out Plans

If you have a Bug Out Location (BOL), I suggest you document multiple ways to get there. If you don’t have a BOL, you still have options. One option is to have an agreement with a friend or relative that, if needed, you would head there. You could go one step further and ask to store some food and gear there so you have more than what you were able to BO with.

Another option is to pick small towns; one north, one south, one east and one west of your home. We picked towns that are 30-60 miles away, had a population of around 5,000 and, if possible, a small hotel. You don’t have to stay at the hotel but it can serve as a rally point. Another reason for the hotel is that if you and your family don’t bug out together but agree on which direction to take, if someone is delayed, they can call the hotel and ask to leave a message for your family member who is on their way and will be checking in.

The reason I like this idea is that you have a plan to execute and won’t have to try and figure out where to go if things start going sideways. I like the idea of four directions because you don’t know what direction things might be melting down. For instance, many Minnesotans might think about heading ”up north” because there are many lakes, woods and plentiful wildlife. There is a nuclear power plant along one “up north” route for us and a state penitentiary along another. In a worst case scenario such as an EMP, there is no way I want to go near the nuclear plant and I’d like to keep my distance from the prison as well. It might be easier to just go east instead.

4. Meeting Location

Have a location outside of your neighborhood designated as a meeting place that everyone in your family knows about. If something happens at your home or very near your home, and people cannot get into the area, everyone should know to meet here.

5. 90 Days

Have a plan in place to be self-sufficient for 90 days. I believe that in 95% of situations, battening down or bugging in are better options than bugging out. I believe that 90 days is a moderate goal that we should all be working towards, and when we get there, we should set it out another 90 days!

This can be a lofty task, so planning it out is a great idea. Decide what you will need to provide all of your basic needs; water, food, shelter, energy and security for 90 days. Storing 90 days’ worth of water isn’t realistic if you don’t own a pool, so a water purifier would suffice.

If you are in debt, then getting out of debt should be step one of your plan. One aspect of this plan should also include saving up and stocking away enough money to pay all of your bills for three months.

If you get to a point where you could provide clean water, food, shelter, heat and security for your family, plus pay your mortgage and any other bills for 90 days, you will be better prepared than the overwhelming majority of people.

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The Shemagh

The Shemagh

The Shemagh, pronounced shmog, is a garment worn in arid climates as a scarf or headdress. They were incorporated by many in the American armed forces in the last decade and by many in the British armed forced decades ago. The Shemagh can be worn is several ways and has several other uses. It is an item I believe belongs in every BOB. The Shemagh is a 46”x46” piece of fabric, coming in several colors and designs.

When worn as a scarf, it can keep the neck shaded in the sun, can provide warmth in the cold and can stop debris from falling down ones shirt in the field.

When worn as a headdress, it can shade the head and neck from the sun, and if worn dessert ninja style, can conceal ones face.

Medically, the Shemagh could be used for an arm sling, fashioned with branches in the field for a leg splint or two of them could make a decent, impromptu, stretcher.

With a bit of cordage, it would make a decent “hobo” style bag.

It could also serve as a towel, small blanket or pillow or, dunk it in cold water and use it as a headdress or scarf for added cooling.

For these reasons and more, I think each BOB should have one of these beauties. One word of warning though; if you buy one, you will want to rinse it thoroughly to remove excess ink. Mine came from Pakistan and I had to soak them for days, changing the water and rinsing them several times before the ink quit bleeding; not something you want in your washing machine!


Prepared Christian supporter, Camping Survival, carries a wide selection of Shemaghs,! If you’re interested in them, head over and check them out! The colors shown in the image are just a partial view of their selection.

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It’s Not the End of The World; at Least Not Yet

It's not the end of the world

We prepare because we see how the world around us is, and we see that there are some very real dangers in it. However, there are some in our community who need to throttle back on “the collapse is coming” a bit. I may upset some of you but I hope you will read the entire article before you decide.

I believe that the likelihood of a “Mad Max” TEOTWAWKI type collapse is highly unlikely. I do believe that events like an EMP attack, pandemic and other wide scale events are possible, so it is worthwhile to consider those possibilities and watch for signs of them.

I explained in Disaster Probability that the events we are most likely to see are not widespread and will really only affect us as individuals, our families and maybe our neighborhood. The events that are far more widespread and are much more destructive are far less probable.

I’ve also come to believe that it is unlikely because world history has shown this to be the case. For example, there was hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic after WWII, and in Zimbabwe starting in 2008. These two events are probably the most closely related events to a “collapse” as most prepper’s view it.

Argentina had a financial collapse, as did Iceland and many European countries since 2008. While these all had financial upheaval, civil unrest and rioting for a short time, I don’t know that any resemble the collapse as many prepper’s expect it.

We’ve seen several regional outbreaks of SARS and other illnesses, but the last true pandemic we saw was the Spanish Flu of 1918.

If we look at the last 100 years of American history, we see the great depression as the biggest “collapse” style event. But there have been hundreds of smaller events, mostly weather-related. Even if we look at the worst of these; Hurricane Katrina, this was a horrible event for those in the area, but had little direct impact on the rest of the country. In the grand scheme of things, it was fairly short lived, and aid, while slow to arrive, still came. My point is that even the worst weather related event we have had wasn’t a “collapse” or “TEOTWAWKI” event, but if you live in an area where hurricanes are a threat, they are the exact kind of event you should be preparing for.

Yes, there is a small chance of these collapse types of events happening, but there are several much smaller SHTF events that actually happen every day, including death in the family, job loss, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, medical emergencies, home invasions, car accidents, severe drought and wildfires, just to name a few. If we take a more general approach to preparedness and don’t measure things by how useful they would be in one event, our overall preparedness is greater.

I see people comment on things on facebook and blog comments to Prepared Christian and other sites that I just don’t understand. Things like “I won’t start a garden because when the collapse comes people will come take my food,” or “I won’t own a storage locker because when the collapse comes the government will take it.” I fully believe that a violent attack could be perpetrated against me. But this doesn’t cause me to stay in the house. I practice Situational Awareness every time I leave the house and frequently carry a firearm or other type of self-defense implement.

If you live your life avoiding certain things because one day an event with a low chance of happening could happen, you’ve already been affected by it. Gardening offers huge benefits; eating fresh fruits and veggies, reduction of stress, sharing excess fruit and veggies with neighbors and loved ones, which can lead to prepper conversations and possibly to their prepping. If your reason not to garden is because it’ll make you a target when TEOTWAWKI comes, first; breathing in TEOTWAWKI will make you a target, and second; you give up all of the benefits on the remote chance that the worst case might happen.

I received a few different negative emails on the article I did on storage lockers, most saying that my idea was foolish because in a collapse people would break in or the government would seize them. Yes, if TEOTWAWKI happens, people might break in and steal things and the government might lay claim to it, but if you read the executive orders, the government can lay claim to many, MANY things in a collapse situation. In a total collapse, you can probably kiss your storage unit goodbye, but that doesn’t make it a stupid or invalid plan for the family that has a little extra money and that lives below the flood plain, or the family who lives in tornado alley, or the family that lives in an area where wildfires are a yearly threat, who wants to make sure they have some items set aside in case they are forced to bug out with nothing.

If I need a used car, I judge it by its gas mileage, safety rating and whether it’s been in an accident, not by how it may preform if we get hit by an EMP.

Again, there is a chance that we could see the worst case scenario collapse, but you do yourself a disservice if you measure the quality of an item or a plan based on the small chance that it occurs and what people will do if the worst does happen.

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Tips from a Storage Unit Auctioneer

Tips from a Storage Unit Auctioneer

I think there is a lot of knowledge shared by all of you in the comments. I think some people will go back and read comments weeks after they’ve read an article, but most will only read them at the time they read the article.

There was a comment in the storage unit article I wrote by a man who is an auctioneer at storage locker auctions. It had so much great info in it that I asked his permission to publish it as its own article and he agreed. I think buying storage lockers could be a good way to get any camping or other prepper gear that might be inside. But it could also be a great side business for anyone with a little extra cash and the time to resell the items.

The following is written by Old Alaskan:

Let me share my 20+ years as a Defaulted Storage Auctioneer and Buyer.
Security, yes the circle lock is one of the hardest locks for the average person to cut. We use an 18V DeWalt Angle grinder, but in a bug out situation an “us or them” then a sledgehammer would do. I have seen a locksmith open one of these in 15 seconds. Most facilities have electronic gates and an extended power outage would make these gates un-useable. They do have a manual over-ride but you cannot count on it being activated so small bolt cutters to cut the chain link fence, If it has one, will be necessary.

Location, some of the storage companies are located close to high density housing, apartment complexes, and low income housing so plane on your location. It is widely known that you can find all manner of good stuff in storage units, thank you Storage Wars, so you might find your unit already looted, if not then you might need an armed guard while loading out and don’t forget the possibility of an ambush on your way out. The gate or hole you made in the fence will be a great ambush site.
Large rollup doors are nice for ease in loading and unloading the unit but think of this a door that swings open with a dirty mattress right behind it. I have seen several units like this and behind the mattress was a treasure trove. I bought some like this cheap because all the other bidders saw was a dirty mattress. So build a wall of junk to discourage theft if your unit is broken into. Most break-ins are grab and dash.

Now let’s look at the flip-side of BUYING defaulted storage units.

It’s strange how when you have your day planed out an incident or phone call changes your whole day and sometimes the next two days. This is why people should be preppers, not to prepare for disasters but to be prepared for what life and God throws at us. So it was Wednesday April 30 when I answered my phone, the person at the other end said Chuck we’re having a storage auction at 11 AM and I’m calling you to make sure you will be there. I replied sure I’ll be there if I can. I debated in my mind do I REALLY need to go I have a full day of work and enough junk in my life but curiosity won out over logic besides it’s a beautiful sunny day who wants to work indoors.

This is unusual for me since my auction company does most of the storage auctions in our area. Some of the questions I receive at my storage auctions are: how do I find out about these auctions? Well, all but 2 states have “Storage Lien Laws” Vermont and Alaska are the exceptions. These auctions must be posted in a public area. Most of the time this means the Legal Notices in your local newspaper BUT don’t just rely on this, any paper of general circulation will meet the requirements. In Indianapolis, IN. the Court Reporter publication meets this criteria. When all else fails get out the yellow pages and call storage companies and ask where they post defaulted storage auction notices and do they notify potential bidders? Or call the local auctioneers and ask if they do storage and notify bidders.
Once you find a notice then what? Well, the notice must have Date, Time, Location, Name and sometimes unit number. This is supposed to be for the tenant to be notified that they are about to lose their belongings if they don’t pay their storage bill but you can use this to your advantage. You have a name do a computer search of that person what can you learn about that person and attach it to the unit number when you show up. DON’T share this information its part of your arsenal. Remember the tenant has up to the day of the auction to pay what is owed so units may be missing from the auction notice.

On the day of the auction it’s pretty much like on TV but a lot of time without the drama. If possible don’t buy a unit the first day unless it absolutely jumps out at you. Watch, listen, and observe who the major bidders are, what do they bid on, what trash and smack is being said by the big hitters about the unit and what do they do after they say it. If there are any more auctions that day tag along and when the last unit is sold quietly ask around if anyone needs help loading their units and you are willing to help with maybe some barter for your labor. This is a good way to see what was in the unit and get a feel for some of the things in the units. Personal Items, Birth Certificates, Family photos (Picture frames are NOT personal Items) the cremated remains of Granny or Grand pop, all should be given back to the storage company to be returned to the tenant. What to watch out for, there are unscrupulous Auctioneers and Storage Companies so here are some things to watch for.

As an auctioneer I have it in my contract with the storage companies that the “working auction company personal” cannot bid at these auctions.

Shill bidding, Puffing, Ghost Bidders, bouncing bids are all unethical and in many cases illegal. Research the uniform commercial code 2-328 “Sale by Auction” All but one state has adopted this code as a state statute, Louisiana is the exception. If you suspect the auctioneer of doing this don’t bid and leave and let your feelings be known to the storage owner but sometimes they are in on it also so just don’t attend their auctions.

Staged Units, here is where the owner, manager or auctioneer will go through the unit and pull good items out to entice you to bid more or to hide garbage behind the boxes. An auctioneer here where I live puts his personal junk into units and then puts empty gun cases or empty Makita tool boxes in the units to entice people to bid more. After a while you will be able to spot a staged unit remember DUST is your friend. If the boxes are taped and the tape peeling with a layer of dust on top of them then you have a good indication of an OLD non-staged unit.

Cherry Picking, If you see disturbed dust on boxes, boxes with the tape cut open, empty gun or tool cases, items tossed about these are all clues to a cherry picked unit where the owner, manager or auctioneer took items from the unit and if the auctioneer has similar items at his weekly or monthly auction house auctions then it’s a good bet he cherry picks the units.

Firearms, every state has a different law on firearms so I will just mention what the BATF has to say about firearms in storage ………………………………………………….. and that is what BATF has to say about firearms in storage auctions. Check on your area what are your states firearms laws. There is an auctioneer here that says it’s a federal law and if you find a firearm in a unit you must give it back to the auctioneer. BULL PUCKYS there is NO federal law that says this. He resells it and keeps the money. The lying thieving scumbag.

This is what I do, when we open the unit I look for firearms or signs of firearms I do not enter the unit unless I see a sign of a firearm and if any are found I clear them, then let the people who are inclined, fondle them, then sell them. You pay for the firearms after the auction and then we go to The Auction House and fill out the paperwork and for the NICS background check, if you pass you get the firearm if not you DO NOT get a refund and we resell it at our next auction house auction and you hope for a profit. But what if the gun was used in a crime? I almost always get this question now let’s reason this through, Abby from NCIS doesn’t work at every crime lab in the country and police departments wont test if the firearm was used to murder someone it’s just too expensive, NEXT what if it was used in a robbery, what robber will stand there and say “this is a hold up give me all your money and by the way this is a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver it’s serial number is XXXCCCC it’s a model XY.” But what if it’s been stolen, well most home owners haven’t wrote down on a paper the make, model, Serial Number, caliber of their firearms so there is no way to know if the firearm is stolen. Then if the home owner’s insurance policy paid off on the theft the home owner must reimburse the insurance company the money paid. Most could not do this since they spent the money. What happens then is the police keep the firearm and either destroy it, or sell it at auction and use the money to buy more equipment and bullets. There is a saying “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there does it make a noise?” Keep your mouth shut.

Bidding strategies, well there really aren’t too many, jump bids sometimes they work and most times they don’t, I hate to say this but watch some of the strategies on “Storage Wars & Storage Wars Texas. The other shows are heavily staged.

After a while in about a year or two you will get a feel for these units and you will feel more comfortable in buying them. I know several people who make a good full time living buying storage and operating a thrift store. But the more money you lose the quicker you will learn. I know a person who only buys $50.00 or less units and has a very good side income.

Bidder fees, some auctioneers are greedy and charge a registration fee to sign in skip them this in my opinion is the first warning sign of an unethical auctioneer.

Buyer’s Premium, a 10% premium on top of your bid is not unreasonable any more than this is greed. So if you bid $100.00 you final bill will be $160.00. What that doesn’t compute I forgot a cash only $50.00 cleaning deposit which you get back when you clean the unit out.

Now that you bought a unit what do you do now? You usually have 24 or 48 hours to clean it out but what do I do with all the stuff? Let’s see there is Craig’s list and people who don’t show up for appointments to see something, Yard Sale and tie up a weekend you could be out at storage auctions, open a thrift store or http://www.maxanet.com. You can set up your own E-bay style auction site, do timed auctions and move a lot of merchandise from your garage or shed this way. You will need a digital camera and a lap top a website from Go Daddy and the fees to set up the site. Everything can be done for $500.00 or less.

What will you find in a storage unit? Well look around your house, anything and everything, Kitchen, Bath, Bedroom, Garage, Shed Anything & Everything.
In some parts of the country you will find things that you won’t find in another part of the country. In Indianapolis there are a lot of antiques, glassware & Pottery, here where I live we have two military bases and a huge outdoor sport population so besides the normal household items we also find camping, fishing, hunting and yes guns & ammo, also military items but not much in antiques.
So depending on your local area you could find lots or limited items for prepping but you will always find some things.

What should I bring Well dress for the weather we do auctions year round here even in winter when the temperature is 20 below zero, a flashlight, padlocks, cash in 5’s, 10’s, 20’s 50’s and 100’s change is sometimes at a premium with the auctioneer, and be ready to wait while everyone looks into the unit.
As for the phone call that ruined my Wednesday. I showed up about 20 minutes early and signed in which is normal and talked with the owner and manager, I’m well known in certain circles because of my auctions. It’s a good tactic to get to know the managers, Donuts or cookies or candies at Christmas time goes a long way. Many storage companies need weekend managers but don’t go that route as you will be working during the auctions.

Only four people showed up for this auction. The storage company didn’t advertise to hard so this is normal for this location. It was me, my oldest son and two regulars at my auctions. They showed us one unit an 8 X 30 and they said that they would be coming back and auction it later and we went to another unit an 8 X 20 with two doors. I looked into the first door and a large stainless steel propane smoker literally jumped out at me and I wanted one of these to smoke salmon this summer. This is dangerous don’t fall in love with a unit. I saw two tube TV’s definite dumpster junk, 3 dirty mattresses 3 mountain bikes of low level value, a propane tank for the BBQ, 2 LARGE white coolers (hmmm camper, fisherman goes through my mind, harps are playing) in the next door a red sofa & love seat, cheap pack frames (Kids) tents, darn I’m falling in love, Miter saw and as I went back to the first door my son said Dad did you see the crossbow on top of the mattresses????? I look up and there are harps and angels singing and flowers and hearts I’m in love.

This is a very dangerous frame of mind you can lose a LOT of money in this state of mind. The owner asks for a bid and no one says anything so I open at 100 thinking a strong opening might scare them away it doesn’t another says 50 I say 200 he says 50 I say 300 well it didn’t go this fast there is posturing and dancing with heads down really all the signs that you want it but you are trying to portray that you are indifferent to the unit. It stops at $300.00 I guess he’s thinking if I ever want to get a unit at my auction he should back out WELL I DON’T operate like that but I get the unit. We go to the other unit we saw earlier and my son says $25.00 there are no other bids and he gets it for $25.00. I go to the office and there is a $100.00 cash only cleaning deposit and I have less than 6 hours to clean it out and I promised the wife to take out for lunch oh crap.

After lunch my wife drops me off at The Auction House and I get our truck and meet her at the storage yard. My son comes from his unit and crawls into mine and hands me a VIPER COPPERHEAD crossbow and 8 arrows (bolts). He then spreads the mattresses and says here dad, a gun boot for a 4 wheeler with a Mossberg 500 in it that no one saw comes from between the mattresses. This is always a good hiding spot for rifles, mirrors, glass table tops so always check these carefully before moving them, 3 propane tanks, 4 tents, 2 cheap aluminum pack frames, about 20 fishing rods and several boxes of lures. We still have to unpack the boxes but if I sold what I got now I would more than quadruple my price but I could use a 150 pound crossbow, smoker, propane tanks and another Mossberg 500. I can still sell the rest and still triple my bid. As for my son his unit was a Hawaiian unit and will clear at least $1,000.00 or more. There is Tappa Cloth and other interesting things in it.
Not every unit is a home run I have had my share of stinkers and if anyone asks me what I got on Wednesday well it was all busted trash in the unit and went to the dump. NEVER let on to anyone what you find then the prices will go up unless you are the auctioneer who works on a commission then everything in the unit is great stuff.

I have 3 regular bidders at our storage auctions who have full-time thrift stores. The wife of one confided in me that she doesn’t have to buy laundry detergent, Bath soap, TP, and many other items and their food bill is almost nill. The find all kinds of useable personal items in the units they buy. One store owner has 3 full-time employees; another is him and his wife as is another. They all do this full time and seem to be making a go of it since they have been coming to my auctions for several years.
Storage auctions are like gold mining you must move tons of dirt to find a nugget.
Happy Hunting

The feedback from an auction that I conducted on May 3, 2014 was one unit had some silver coins, another gold jewelry, another Alaskan Native items, 2 others firearms (Ruger 10/22, S&W .45 pistol) Shelving material, Stainless Steel racks on wheels and lots of stuff. You just never know.

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Coping With Sleep Deprivation; Confessions of an Insomniac

Coping With Sleep Deprivation; Confessions of an Insomniac
For most of my life, I was the kind of person that slept very well. I fell asleep easily and awoke rested. However, some years ago that changed. I was diagnosed with two types of insomnia. I struggle to fall asleep and, once I do, I get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and then awaken several times the rest of the night. I underwent a sleep study and do not have sleep apnea. I take medication for insomnia now and, while I still have a bad night here and there, for the most part I sleep better.

I’m not sharing this to garner sympathy. I just figure that if faced with a survival situation, there are a host of things that could cause one to sleep poorly. I just happen to have some insight into what one can expect when you encounter a poor night’s sleep or a string of several poor nights’ sleep.

This article should not be viewed as any type of medical advice. This is purely from my own experiences or those others have shared with me. Some of the advice I give for either helping you stay awake or helping you get to sleep may not be medically safe for you. If there is any question, talk to your doctor!

While it is true that there are some standard side effects that most people encounter from a lack of sleep, the severity of those side effects and the rate at which they appear can vary. For instance, Bobby might normally get 9 hours of sleep. If he only gets five, he might be slightly irritable. Johnny, on the other hand, might normally get eight hours of sleep but gets cranky if he gets less than seven.

Impacts of Lacking Sleep

The severity of side effects due to one poor nights’ sleep can vary greatly. For instance, I don’t function well at all on less than five hours of sleep. If I can get six, I’ll be tired but I can get by. I have noticed that most of the effects from lacking sleep get worse if I sleep poorly for a few nights in a row. For example, at the time of this writing, I am on my fifth night of getting 5-6 hours. The first couple of days were bearable, but today I am thankful I don’t have to drive (and that I have a proof-reader!). The following are some of the effects I have seen.

Loss in cognitive ability; my job is “level two tech-support” for a very complex software product. One really poor night’s sleep or a few mediocre really take a toll. It takes me longer to troubleshoot issues, and I have to get assistance from co-workers more frequently. As I mentioned, I’m at five nights of poor sleep and I have forgotten words several times today. There have been decisions that I have had to put on hold as well as some serious conversations.

Irritability; this one for me is hit or miss. Sometimes I might be easier to irritate, or the level of irritability might be worse. Some days I’m not irritable at all and things that usually don’t make me laugh are suddenly funny.

Dry eyes; I’m not sure if my eyes get drier or if it just bothers me more. Either way, I have eye drops with me at all times.

Memory loss; this usually isn’t bad unless I have a couple bad nights in a row. I have learned to write notes and set Outlook reminders.

Loss of concentration; it takes less to derail my train of thought. This article, for example, is taking me twice as long to write as it normally would.

Lack of healing and increased pain; our bodies use sleep to heal us from the day’s wear and tear. When we don’t enter into a deep REM sleep, this doesn’t take place. I have a couple different causes of chronic pain. My pain is worse than normal on the days with less sleep.

Headaches; I get frequent headaches as it is, but they are either worse or harder to handle when I’ve slept poorly.

Loosing time; I don’t mean blacking out. It’s more like zoning out on steroids. I have found myself staring at a computer monitor until the power feature turns it off. I’ve “watched” television and realized half way through that, well, it’s halfway through and I don’t remember much of the first half.

Staying Asleep

Picture this; the grid has been down for five days and rioting and other civil unrest started in your area not long after. You and your spouse have taken shifts keeping watch at night. Even when you try sleep, it’s broken up by gunshots and the sounds of crying. How can you make sure that you’re sleeping and making the most of your sleep?

Pharmaceuticals can help, but if you have to be sharing a watch or making sure you have your wits about you as soon as you wake up, this might not be an option, as several drugs cause morning grogginess. I have tried several sleeping pills over the years. The hangover effect is much worse with some than it is with others. Melatonin has a far milder effect but is not an option for everyone, as it can cause some very vivid and no-so-pleasant dreams.

You would think that the lack of sleep would help you sleep better but that’s not always the case, especially in times of stress. Though you can be completely worn out and dragging, your mind won’t let you fall asleep. In times of stress, doing calming things before bed are a great idea. Doing something that can take your mind off the situation for a while is helpful as well.

If I can’t sleep, I could lay there all night trying. I have noticed that if I get up and play a game or surf the web for a while, I tend to fall asleep faster when I try laying down again.

There are several tea’s that boast aiding in relaxation and sleep.

Staying Awake

Imagine the same scenario as above; you’re getting half the amount of sleep that you normally would. How can you make sure you stay awake when it’s your turn to be on watch? While I haven’t had to live through this scenario, I have had to hold down a job, drive in traffic and complete other tasks that I had to make sure I was awake for.

Stimulants immediately come to mind, but in the scenario I have given, they might not be a good idea during the night. You want to make sure you’re able to sleep when it’s your turn. The 4 hour energy drink may be alright, I suppose.

I wrote an article called Caffeine as a Prep Item where I explored the pluses and minuses of caffeine in a survival situation.

Pain can work very well in the short term. A slap to the face, plucking a nose hair or other minor things can help you fight off sleep for a time.

Cold water, as cold as you can stand it, can do wonders. In the given scenario, this idea might not work, but filling the sink with ice cubes and cold water, dunking the hands and face every few minutes, might do the trick.

Be cautious of pushing it too far. Your body will shut down eventually. When I was in the Navy, I went to aviation electrician school. There was a guy in my class who hit the clubs a couple night in a row. One day in class, he fell asleep at his desk. He was made to stand in the back of the class and hold a 2×4 over his head. He fell asleep standing up and dropped it on his head twice before class was out.

Catching up on Sleep

It is possible to catch up on sleep, but depending on the deficit, it could take a few days. One of the best ways to do this is by taking one of God’s greatest blessings…a nap!

The following is from WebMD

The length of your nap and the type of sleep you get help determine the brain-boosting benefits. The 20-minute power nap — sometimes called the stage 2 nap — is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano.

What happens if you nap for more than 20 minutes? Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep — napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes — is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions. Getting rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.

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