As a youth, I was actively involved in the Boy Scouts, which is where I learned the importance of being prepared. “Be Prepared” is of course the Boy Scout motto. That mindset transitioned with me into my career as a law enforcement officer.
As a police officer, I teach people the importance of being prepared and staying safe. Not necessarily for the end of the world, but how to protect themselves from crime, or how to be prepared and what to expect should they find themselves a victim of crime.
Chances are that at some time in your life you, a family member, or a friend has been a victim of a crime. It is a very unfortunate part of not just our society, but our species. Because of that, I want to convey some general tips and steps you can do to protect yourself.
The most important tip is to always be aware of your surroundings. Stop texting for a moment and take in what is going on around you. Criminals prey on those who look lost, distracted, and/or weak. So pay attention to your environment. Appear confident. Act like you are in control and are moving with a purpose. Don’t look like an easy target!
There are tens of thousands of muggings and assaults every year in the US. I mentioned that remaining alert and paying attention to your surroundings is a good way to help prevent being attacked. Here are a few tips to help you avoid becoming a victim:
- When exiting a building heading to your car, have they key you need to unlock your door already in your hand. Don’t be distracted at your car by fumbling around in your purse or pocket for your car keys.
- Criminals look for victims that appear to have money or valuables. Avoid wearing flashy, expensive items. Or at least be discrete with them. Carrying large sums of money is not a great idea for obvious reasons.
- Avoid using ATMs when alone and/or at night. If you need to use one, try to find one in a busy area like a grocery store. Thieves HATE witnesses!
- Stick to well-populated areas. If you are visiting or new to the area, try to learn about the area before venturing out into the unknown.
This is Part II of Firearms for Preppers series. Be sure to check out Part I if you missed it!
In my article Firearms for Beginners, I talk in general about needing at minimum, one long gun and one pistol for a long term survival scenario. The long gun you can use to hunt and to defend yourself at range, while the pistol is a great backup weapon and is many times better suited to self-defense in very close quarters.
But now I want to go into a bit more detail. I want to be a bit more specific. Of course, a lot of what you need depends upon your situation. And that could vary greatly from person to person. But overall, much of what I say will apply to everyone regardless of their situation.
Ok….so you need a long gun and a pistol for a long term disaster scenario. But what kind of pistol? What kind of long gun? Should you stop with just two or gather more? Well, let’s discuss that.
I have seen many articles from various prepper sources taking it a bit further, saying you need a good rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol. Some even go further and say that in addition to those you also need a .22 rifle as well. A few will even say that you need backups of all of those. I cannot argue with any of that logic as I subscribe to it myself. If you have the funds available, then I would absolutely tell you to go that route.
Now I know my situation. I know what my long term plans are. You need to acquire firearms based upon what your plans are should you find yourself in a long term survival situation.
Are you bugging in or bugging out? How many people are in your group? How well trained are these folks? These are questions only you can answer. But to give you some ideas, I’ll give you some examples based upon my plans.
I live in a large suburb of Oklahoma City. So I have firearms for self-defense based upon a city setting. I prefer a pistol and shotgun for urban use. Yet if I had to bug out, I have a rural homestead on several acres I can go to. I have firearms (rifles) I could use in a self-defense scenario in a rural setting as well.
I received an email from a visitor, asking me my thoughts on firearms/weapons for preppers. I had already thought of doing some articles on this subject. It has to be one of the most popular topics amongst “the prepared”.
It is fun to talk about, and it’s a subject I thoroughly enjoying reading and discussing. (Here is a link to a previous firearms article I wrote for people new to firearms.)
I have several firearms, and the majority of them have a role they play both at work and in my preparedness. I also have a few are “fun guns” because I enjoy the shooting sports.
When it comes to “prepper” firearms, I break it down into two categories:
- Firearms for home/self defense and EDC (Every day carry)
- Firearms for a long term survival scenarios. – Part II
Interstate 40 is the 3rd largest highway in the United States, running from Wilmington, North Carolina to Barstow California. Part of it used to be the old historic Route 66 that was popularized in the 1960s with a song and TV show. And I-40 runs right through my city where I work.
I have lost count how many times I have been called to assist with motor vehicle accidents on that interstate. At least 4 that I can remember were fatality accidents. (ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.) But what sticks out to me the most is just how often I came across people who simply were not dressed appropriately for the weather conditions outside.
So many times, when the outside temp was barely above freezing, (or colder) I’d pull up on an accident. Based upon the speeds traveled, the vehicles involved were usually damaged enough that they would not start. The people were not always hurt or not hurt very badly. But so many times the drivers and passengers did not have adequate clothing.
I always asked them the same thing. “Where is your coat?”
“I didn’t think I’d need one because I was only driving a few miles.” Or “it WAS warm inside my car” were the typical replies.
Normally, I would have been nice enough to let them stay warm in the back of my patrol car. But for many years, I was a K9 officer. I had no back seat as it had been replaced with metal bars/plates and a carpet for my loyal companion. And he was NOT nice enough to let anyone sit back there with him.
With all of my equipment I kept in the front seat, I had no room to place freezing passengers. (On the plus side, I never had to transport prisoners.)
Within a few moments a backup officer would arrive on scene, and the unprepared would cram into his/her back seat. People learned the hard way that they could not rely solely on their car’s heater or AC unit to keep them warm/cool. They should of had a backup plan.
Next to your need for oxygen, maintaining your core body temperature is the most important survival aspect you will face. Having a shelter from the elements is the number two priority in my opinion. It is more important than water, food, guns, or gear. Your clothing is, in a sense, a part of your shelter. What you wear and how you wear it could be the difference between life and death.
Over the past few decades, we have seen an increase in clothing made from synthetic materials. But sometimes it can become confusing as to how the material would be a boon or a bane in an emergency situation. So let me break down the main types of clothing/bedding material out there.
A very popular material on the market (at least in the America), cotton is hydrophilic. This means that it transfers sweat from your body to the material, causing it to become wet. Once cotton is wet, it feels cold and loses almost all of its ability to insulate. In the winter time, the saying is “Cotton Kills”.
Emergencies are never planned. Disaster can strike when you least expect it. So having plans and being prepared for these contingencies could save your life! Here are 8 lessons to take from a real life disaster.
May 20th, 2013 started out just like any other day. I went to work and had a rather uneventful day. I got home around 2:30 in the afternoon, and turned on the TV to see the local weather man warning people of a “Tornado Watch” issued for my area. The maps on TV showed an approaching storm cell, and it looked ominous.
The “Tornado Watch” went to a “Tornado Warning” in about 15 minutes, and by a little after 3pm, the city of Moore, Oklahoma had been hit, and hit HARD. In the end, 24 people lost their lives, and over 350 had been injured. The Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, was quick to call it a disaster area. In the end, the damage from that tornado was estimated to be over $2 BILLION.
By 3:30pm, my police chief called me and asked if I could go to Moore and assist. Mary Fallin was asking for all available emergency personnel to come to the affected area. So back on goes the uniform and gear, and off I went.
Now I don’t live that far from Moore, but it took me much longer than usual to get there. The interstates were packed with vehicles trying to get TO the area. Even with lights and sirens, a few times I found myself driving on not just the shoulder of the highway, but on the outlying fields themselves to get around traffic that had come to a stand-still.
I know the back roads in that area well, but I did not take them. I had no way of knowing how many of them would be impassable due to the tornado. And I knew that I-35, the main US highway that runs right through the middle of Moore had not been damaged. (Although parts of it had been shut down due to debris on the highways.)
Eventually I made it, and was given directions to the Emergency Command Center. It was in the heart of the affected area; a Home Depot parking lot. There were a row of businesses right there that were relatively untouched, and they had vast parking areas. Plenty of room to set up operations and the needed equipment.
On a side note: The north side of that street, on the other hand, had been wiped out. It reminded me of pictures of the aftermath of WWII. Buildings were gone or gutted. In route to the area, I drove past what remained of the local hospital. My first thought when I saw what was left of it was that the death toll there would be catastrophic. Yet somehow, those in the hospital had been evacuated in the nick of time.
Lesson #1 – Have emergency routes and back up routes (with maps) established ahead of time
Like I said, I knew the back roads in that area as it wasn’t far from where I grew up. But I had no idea what sort of condition those roads were in. And were it not for the fact that I was in an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens, I could have been sitting on the interstate for hours.
For my first article, I thought I would tell you a little about myself, and the purpose of this new prepper site.
A former outdoor survival instructor, I currently work as a police officer in a suburb of Oklahoma City.
I found myself beginning to prep just a few years ago. I fought the term “Prepper” for a long time, as I believed the media had given it a negative connotation. Instead, I was “being prepared for unforeseen events”. But let’s be honest, I was merely arguing semantics.
I’m still not crazy about the term. But it is what it is.
Although I started just a few years ago, I have a long history of being outdoors and developing survival skills. It started in my teens, as I was a Boy Scout. I loved it, and made the rank of Eagle Scout at age 16. I camped every summer, including a 2 week stay in Scout Camp at Philmont, NM.
In my late teens, I attended a 3 month outdoor survival school, where I eventually became an instructor. I taught others primitive living skills such as land navigation, primitive fire making (bow drill), how to locate and secure water, how to make rudimentary shelters, and other survival skills.